Su­per strik­ers spurring each other on to greater glory

Manchester Evening News - - CITY SPECIAL - By STUART BREN­NAN

“GABRIEL Je­sus was ex­cel­lent, but Ser­gio Aguero is ir­re­place­able.”

Per­haps not the words the Brazil striker wanted to hear from his man­ager af­ter his two ex­cel­lent goals had sunk Ever­ton and moved him into the top five of the all-time dead­li­est Premier League strik­ers. As al­ways, Pep Guardi­ola’s faint praise has sparked sev­eral dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tions, rang­ing from it be­ing an ex­pres­sion of the kind of tough love he has used – not en­tirely suc­cess­fully – on Leroy Sane, to a broad hint that Je­sus will be shipped out in a sum­mer of up­heaval.

Of course, he could just have been stat­ing a stark fact, and one which Je­sus’ own pro­nounce­ments recog­nise as the truth.

The 22-year-old has made it plain he has no is­sues with play­ing sec­ond fid­dle to Aguero, fully re­spect­ing the part that the Ar­gentina ace holds in City his­tory, and the leg­endary sta­tus it af­fords him.

And he con­tin­ues to ac­knowl­edge that he is still on a learn­ing curve, strug­gling to find some per­ma­nence to his con­fi­dence.

It feels as though Je­sus needs to be in a state of anx­i­ety about his goalscor­ing in or­der to func­tion, while Aguero is steeped in his own be­lief in him­self.

But Je­sus has im­proved hugely in one as­pect of his game – and it is one which even Aguero can­not match.

In Premier League and Cham­pi­ons League, Je­sus has al­ready bagged 12 goals this sea­son, one more than he scored in the en­tirety of last sea­son. What is espe­cially pleas­ing for the young­ster is the va­ri­ety he has found – five came with his favoured right foot (42 per cent), four with his left (33 per cent) and three with his head (25 per cent).

His last three sea­sons have seen his goal stats dom­i­nated by his right foot with 60 per cent of his goals com­ing from that peg, and just 23 per cent from his left foot and 17 per cent with his head.

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