Pep Guardiola has “taken on the mantle” of Barcelona mentor Johan Cruyff and done more for English football than Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson, says former Manchester City winger Trevor Sinclair.
Debate regarding which of the two iconic figures has had the greatest influence on the Premier League has started to rage.
Former Tottenham and England striker Gary Lineker stirred the pot on social media when he suggested that Guardiola was the biggest “positive influence” on the domestic game.
He posted on Twitter: “He [Guardiola] has had, arguably, the most positive influence of anyone, ever on our game.
“Total respect for Sir Alex’s achievements, and of course he’s the most successful, but that’s an entirely different thing.
“Guardiola has changed the way we play and think about the game. From our obsession with direct play to total football… and they said it couldn’t be done.”
Those comments have been countered by many, with Ferguson acknowledged to have raised the bar when steering United to 13 Premier League titles .
It is, however, efforts away from the field that Guardiola’s supporters are keen to talk up, with the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich considered to have altered the mindset of those he works with.
For Sinclair, that places the current City coach above a man who dominated the scene in Manchester prior to the emergence of ‘noisy neighbours’.
“It’s got to be Pep,” the ex-England international told talkSPORT .
“Ferguson was unbelievably successful, but when you’re talking about a philosophy and a way to play I think Pep had just changed it up completely.
“Even the way Liverpool play to a certain extent – it’s that complete football but with that added press involved.
“And it’s not just the Premier League, that’s the beauty of it.
“You look down the leagues and into grassroots football, and even though some of them haven’t got the pitches to play on where the consistency is going to be there in the touch and that passing out from the back, they’re still trying to do it.
“I think that has come from the football Manchester City have played over the last few years and the success they’ve achieved playing that way.
“Johan Cruyff was the architect for the kind of football, that philosophy, but Pep has taken on the mantle.”
Guardiola guided City to an historic treble last season and, while the Premier League title appears to be heading out of the Etihad Stadium in 2020, the Blues are still in the mix for FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Champions League honours.