Manchester City head to the USA later this week to begin their pre-season preparations. Here, club journalists David Clayton and Rob Pollard consider what Pep Guardiola will be looking to get from the tour.
Pep Guardiola can help Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane thrive
Last season may have ended without silverware for Man City but there were some real positives to take from the campaign, not least the development of two of the game’s finest young attacking talents.
Leroy Sane had shown at Schalke he has the pace and precociousness needed to be a top-class footballer. City won the race to sign him last summer and his performances from December onwards were special, particularly when one considers his age and relative inexperience.
For more information on the Club's US Tour, you can read more via our dedicated page.
An old-fashioned touchline-hugging winger, Sane beats players with apparent ease, creates a plethora of chances for his teammates and scores plenty of goals. It’s been a long time since the Manchester City fans were this excited about a new player.
And Gabriel Jesus, who arrived from Palmeiras in January, has already demonstrated his unique potential. He scored seven goals in 11 games - despite a fractured metatarsal curtailing his early progress and seeing him miss more than two months - and brought Brazilian flair to a side already packed with attacking quality.
He is a natural footballer and a player who comes alive inside the area. City, surely, have landed one of the most promising forwards in the world.
Ensuring those two continue to prosper will be uppermost in Pep Guardiola’s mind. Pre-season gives him an opportunity to help further their development and make sure they are firing when the first Premier League game of the season at Brighton rolls around on 12 August.
One of the central pillars of Guardiola’s approach to management has been his ability to adapt his tactics when necessary, altering the shape and style of his teams, as well as the roles of his players within it.
Last season, we saw City utilise various formations, with players operating in areas of the pitch we never thought they would.
Pre-season offers the manager an opportunity to work with his players intensively for 10 days, laying out some of the tactical innovations he plans to use ahead of the new campaign.
Battle for No.1 jersey
Brazilian keeper Ederson will look to get his City career off to a flyer when the Blues play three high-profile tour matches against United, Real Madrid and Spurs.
With Claudio Bravo’s pre-season due to start later than many of the squad due to his participation in the Confederations Cup, the young shot-stopper will have a chance to impress the manager and his new team-mates.
The Chile skipper was excellent during the tournament in Russia and his confidence will be high – so the two South Americans are likely to push each other to new heights.
We’ll have to wait to see how Pep plans to utilise his goalkeepers but it seems likely both will see plenty of game time with the experience of Bravo and the exuberance of Ederson required for different moments during the campaign ahead.
Ederson will look to settle in quickly and show why Pep was so keen to bring him to the Club this summer.
Stones to shine?
John Stones enjoyed a solid start to his City career but the assertion from pundits and journalists alike is that the young England defender will just keep getting better.
Stones had a number of partners in central defence last year but the lengthy absence of Vincent Kompany meant that, bar a couple of games, he has hardly played alongside the skipper.
Kompany forged an impressive partnership with Nicolas Otamendi towards the end of the campaign and it will be interesting to see who starts the game against Brighton in the 2017/18 curtain raiser.
Stones could be up against England team-mate Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku and Karim Benzema during the US tour – a great opportunity to show his undoubted class.
For more information on the Club's US Tour, you can read more via our dedicated site.