In-form Raheem Sterling scored his 12th goal of the season as Manchester City cruised into the FA Cup quarter-finals and made history with a 3-1 victory at Swansea City.

Pep Guardiola's irrepressible side eased to a 15th consecutive win - a record for an English top-flight club - at the Liberty Stadium to stay in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple.

Kyle Walker opened the scoring with a cross and two goals in the space of three minutes early in the second half put the Premier League leaders out of sight.

Championship promotion contenders Swansea were outclassed as the City juggernaut rolled on, although they did suffer a blow when Rodri was forced off with an injury before Morgan Whittaker pulled a goal back.

Jesus received treatment on his ankle early on, but was able to continue and the striker missed a chance to opening the scoring when he steered Benjamin Mendy's cross wide.

Swansea were chasing shadows as City dominated, knocking the ball around with a swagger, and Ferran Torres' shot from a tight angle was brilliantly tipped wide by Freddy Woodman.

Woodman was beaten on the half-hour mark, though, when Walker's centre from the right evaded everybody and found the far corner of the net.

Marc Guehi nodded wide at the other end in a rare Swansea attack, but an unmarked Sterling finished clinically when he was well picked by Rodri two minutes into the second half.

Swansea were caught out again soon after, with Jesus controlling a clever cushioned header back across goal from Bernardo Silva in an instant and swivelling to fire home with his left foot.

Joel Latibeaudiere somehow denied Mendy a tap-in with great last-ditch defending and Rodri limped off before Whittaker superbly gave the hosts a consolation, drilling in left-footed for his first Swansea goal.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Kevin De Bruyne may have suffered a muscular injury in the 2-0 win over Aston Villa, though he is waiting on further updates.

De Bruyne hobbled off in the second half as City beat Villa on Wednesday to move top of the Premier League table.

City star De Bruyne was replaced approaching the hour mark before Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan scored during the final 11 minutes at home to Villa, the former in controversial circumstances.

Kyle Walker also succumbed to injury after just 28 minutes, and Guardiola was asked about the pair.

"First, I didn't speak to the doctor," he said.

"Kyle asked to be out because something happened – hopefully it was just a kick.

"Kevin put his hand on his leg. Maybe it will be something muscular. But what do you expect? It's normal, sometimes these things happen with these kind of games."

City are now unbeaten in 16 games across all competitions after defeating a Villa side whose previous top-flight outing was a 2-1 loss to Manchester United 19 days earlier, having suffered a coronavirus outbreak.  

Silva broke the deadlock in the 79th minute amid strong claims for offside against Rodri as Villa boss Dean Smith was sent off for his protests, while Gundogan's late penalty sealed the win.

"I didn't watch the image on TV, I know they complained on the touchline," Guardiola said when discussing Silva's contentious goal.

"And VAR is there. So there are many challenges, with long balls when the player is offside, and you go backwards, the central defenders, you clear the ball, central defender for themselves, the counter attack.

"But VAR was there. If it was offside, the goal would have been disallowed, but honestly I didn't watch it, and I understand they complained about this action. In general, the game we played was outstanding."

City have kept 10 clean sheets in their 18 Premier League games this season – only in 1976-77 (17 games) have they reached that figure in fewer fixtures in their league history.

After a difficult start to the season, his side are firmly back in the mix, and Guardiola added: "There are many, many teams, but if you ask me for my opinion, still have one game left to finish the first round, so the rise in the table is good because we are there.

"When we lost against Tottenham, we were 12th in the table, but then we lost just two games and the most important thing, is the fact that we are back since Newcastle game, playing the game we have to play to be contenders. Everyone wants to win, wants to be champions but you have to show why you are champions.

"Today, I had the feeling that we controlled many aspects, we had the right tempo of the game, we concede few, create a lot. We have to be more clinical in the final third, especially in the eight yard box and penalty spot but we'll improve."

Pep Guardiola has confirmed three more "important" Manchester City players have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of their Premier League visit to Chelsea on Sunday. 

City's top-flight clash with Everton on Monday was postponed following a coronavirus outbreak at the club, with Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker and another two staff members testing positive for COVID-19.

The match was called off in the hours before kick-off after City "returned a number of positive cases", with the fixture becoming the second in the competition to be postponed this season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Newcastle were struck by the virus and missed a game at Aston Villa, while a third postponement followed on Wednesday as Tottenham versus Fulham fell by the wayside.

City resumed training on Wednesday but Guardiola has now confirmed that three more first-team players have joined Jesus and Walker in testing positive for COVID-19.

"It was four people, two players, the first time and then three more," he told a media conference. 

"I don't think the Premier League allows us to name the players but you will know tomorrow. 

"We have to respect the privacy of the players maybe. Tomorrow you will see the lineups and three important players not there so you will know exactly but I'm not allowed to tell you.

"People are dying all around the world. Unfortunately, the problem is still here but now the training centre is disinfected and hopefully the next tests everyone is negative and the people that are positive can come back without problems."

There have been growing calls for a circuit break – a tight set of restrictions, likely including the suspension of games, designed to reverse the tide of the pandemic – but Guardiola is content to keep following the Premier League's advice.

"We will follow what the Premier League says," he added. "They are doing an incredible job and have been since the first lockdown but it is unfortunate what happened with Newcastle.

"I spoke with Steve Bruce and he explained how difficult it was, more than 20 people infected and it can happen to any club in the Premier League.

"The situation everywhere is dramatic, with 1000 deaths in a day. We have to be careful.

"We are delighted to play games and do our job but at the same time we cannot ignore the reality that the virus is here and we don't know exactly when you can get it. We have to be careful, wearing masks and socially distancing."

Pep Guardiola applauded Manchester City's victory over Newcastle United, describing the 2-0 triumph as their "performance of the season".

City eased past Newcastle thanks to goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Ferran Torres to move within five points of Premier League leaders Liverpool on Saturday.

Guardiola's City have kept 13 clean sheets in all competitions this season – more than any other team in the top five European leagues in 2020-21.

Speaking afterwards, a happy Guardiola told reporters: "It was the best performance of the season. Our football has to be played in one rhythm so we cannot play in a rhythm that has ups and downs so quickly.

"You have to make a tempo that makes a lot, a thousand-million, passes in the right moment to attack. To do this everyone has to be in his position and everyone has to do his job. Today was a big example, unfortunately, playing a team always with 10 players behind is not easy to attack but the guys were really good.

"I'm so glad about the way we played. That's always a consequence for the points we get. We have another victory, we climb some positions, and now we can't stop in the good or bad moments, we need to be calm because in less than 44 hours we'll have another game and we're going to Goodison Park to try to play well first of all.

"The result is always the consequences of the way you played. This was our success in the past and we're going to continue in the next years."

Gundogan opened the scoring in the 14th minute before Torres doubled the lead 10 minutes into the second half at home to visiting Newcastle.

Raheem Sterling's assist for Gundogan was his 150th goal involvement in all competitions since Guardiola joined City in 2016 (96 goals and 54 assists) – more than any other player at the club in that time, per Opta.

City have won all seven games in all competitions in which Torres has scored for the team, with five of his seven strikes coming at the Etihad Stadium.

Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker, meanwhile, missed the clash due to coronavirus, after the star City pair and two staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

Asked about Jesus and Walker, City manager Guardiola said: "Listen the last thing I think right now is without Gabriel and Kyle is a problem for the team. What we want, what I want is Gabriel and Kyle being [tested] positive but not getting worse and being asymptomatic and pass these 10 days without any symptoms.

"COVID is here, it's not here in Manchester, it's in many cities all around the world. That's why we have to be careful and what we want is for them to recover in the next days. And we are going to wait for them. We are looking forward to seeing them again. Without them, we're going to move forward. The team, the guys who want to join us and commit to the team, what we want to do all together, they will more be than welcome.

"So the guys who think about what is best for the team, the guys who think I have to give something for the team, even it's worse for me those guys will be part of the team forever. If the guy doesn't want it, they will be the problem."

Manchester City revealed on Christmas Day that Gabriel Jesus, Kyle Walker and another two members of staff have tested positive for coronavirus.

Striker Jesus scored an early opening goal in the 4-1 EFL Cup quarter-final win at Arsenal on Tuesday, while defender Walker made a substitute appearance.

The duo will miss the Boxing Day Premier League encounter with Newcastle United as they self-isolate after contracting COVID-19.

City face Everton two days later in a hectic festive period before a trip to Chelsea on January 3.

Pep Guardiola's side then take on Manchester United in a mouthwatering EFL Cup semi-final derby at Old Trafford on January 6.

City said in a statement: "Manchester City FC can confirm that Gabriel Jesus, Kyle Walker, and two members of staff have tested positive for COVID-19.

"All four personnel will now observe a period of self-isolation in accordance with Premier League and UK Government protocol on quarantine.

"Everyone at the club wishes our colleagues a speedy recovery over the Christmas period ahead of their return to work, training and competition."

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says his time as a manager of Barcelona "is over" as he ruled out any chance of a return to his former club.

The 49-year-old is into the final year of his City contract and has been linked with a return to Camp Nou, where he won 14 trophies during his time in charge between 2008 and 2012.

Victor Font, who is in the running to succeed Josep Maria Bartomeu as Barca president, this week laid out his plans to reunite Guardiola with Lionel Messi in Catalonia.

However, Guardiola reiterated on Friday he is "incredibly happy" at the Etihad Stadium and has now stated he has no desire to manage the LaLiga giants for a second time.

"My period as a manager of Barcelona is over," he told BT Sport. "In life you do things once.

"There are incredible people who can be in charge. Ronald Koeman, for example, is an incredible manager. It's over.

"I will come back to watch a game, but I am happy here. I have the desire to do well and this is the most important thing."

Bartomeu and the entire Barcelona board stepped down on Tuesday ahead of an expected vote of no confidence, with an interim board now in place until March's elections.

Guardiola added: "Hopefully they can choose the right person and the right board to maintain the club as it is, at the highest level."

City picked up their fourth win in five outings on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United, Kyle Walker scoring the only goal on his 100th Premier League appearance for the club.

It was the 53rd Premier League goal City have scored from outside the box under Guardiola - more than any other team since the start of 2016-17.

Walker's celebration was muted against his former side, but Guardiola acknowledged the importance of the 28th-minute strike - one of eight shots that City managed on target at Bramall Lane.

"I know maybe he is not so happy to score against a club he loves a lot, but for us, it was so important," Guardiola said at his post-match news conference.

"We played really well. We struggled to score goals for the chances we created. But they had one clear chance, no more than that, and I'm incredibly satisfied. It's so important."

Kyle Walker admitted the fear of incurring the wrath of his parents was behind his low-key reaction to scoring the winner against Sheffield United. 

The full-back marked his 100th Premier League appearance for Manchester City with a decisive 28th-minute strike from outside the box against his former club at Bramall Lane. 

Having come through the Blades' academy, Sheffield-born Walker's mother and father still live in the city and he did not want to risk angering them. 

"My mum and dad live here, so if I'd celebrated I'd have got a lot of stick," he told BT Sport after Saturday's 1-0 win. "I'm a Sheffield United fan, so I couldn't celebrate. 

"I'm happy to get on the scoresheet and obviously happy to get the three points, which was the main thing coming up here.

"They're well-drilled. Everyone knows their position and they're a tough team to break down, but luckily enough I came up with the goal." 

The visitors were dominant but had to settle for just the one goal, with Aaron Ramsdale in fine form, making seven saves. 

Despite lacking that clinical edge in the absence of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, Walker took the positives. 

"I'm enjoying my football. We don't sit back and defend," he said. "We want to score three or four, but it's great to get the clean sheet on the board as well. 

"Defensively we've done fantastically well, especially Ruben [Dias] since he's come in. Whoever steps in, they're all going to put in top performances. 

"There was always going to be a hangover [from last season]. It's just what we're dealing with at this moment in time." 

The win alleviates some of City boss Pep Guardiola's frustrations over their league form, with the eight-point yield from the previous five top-flight games representing his worst start to a season. 

Opposite number Chris Wilder's woes deepened, though, as United have now gone seven games without a win at the start of a season for the first time since 1991-92. 

It leaves Wilder still stranded on 99 wins at the helm, having not tasted victory in his last 11 games in all competitions – his longest such streak in management. 

Kyle Walker's goal against his hometown club secured a 1-0 Premier League victory for Manchester City over struggling Sheffield United.

Pep Guardiola, who had suffered his worst five-game start to a season after taking just eight points, saw his team's domestic frustrations alleviated by Sheffield-born Walker's 28th-minute strike at Bramall Lane.

City, buoyed by Tuesday's 3-0 Champions League win in Marseille, were on top from the outset and only a fine display from Aaron Ramsdale limited the damage.

The result leaves Chris Wilder's side still winless, while providing a confidence boost for a City outfit whose next top-flight clash is at home to champions Liverpool.

Ferran Torres' glancing header from Joao Cancelo's cross forced a fine early stop from Ramsdale, who also saw Aymeric Laporte steer a close-range effort just past his near post.

Rodri's ferocious 25-yard strike was too hot to handle as the goalkeeper parried it over the crossbar in slick conditions amid heavy rainfall in Sheffield.

The Blades continued to rely on their last line of defence when Ramsdale thwarted Torres after the Spaniard slid in to connect with Raheem Sterling's cross.

Walker, a product of the Bramall Lane academy, forced the breakthrough with a low, skidding shot that nestled in the keeper's bottom-right corner.

The hosts, who have never beaten City in the Premier League, remained firmly on the back foot in the second half, living dangerously as Kevin De Bruyne's attempt flashed narrowly wide.

Ramsdale was to the fore again soon after, tipping Riyad Mahrez's free-kick wide, while substitute John Lundstram fired over at the other end in a rare opening for the home side.

 

What does it mean? A timely triumph for City

With top-flight games against Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United and Everton still to come in 2020, City needed this Halloween treat of three points.

The trick now will be to discover the kind of consistency usually so common to them and manager Guardiola, who will still have concerns about his side lacking a clinical edge.

Without Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, the final scoreline failed to reflect City's dominance, with the visitors having out-shot (16-4) and out-passed (709-369) their hosts with ease.

Blunt Blades all toil and no trouble

Heading into this match, United's shot tally of 409 and on-target total of 131 were the lowest of all 17 ever-present Premier League sides since the start of last season.

On Saturday they managed to add just four shots, with one on target. A long season lies ahead for Wilder's charges, with United having last gone seven games without a win at the start of a campaign back in 1991-92.

Ramsdale's busy shift

It may have ended in defeat, but this was a performance of which Ramsdale can be proud.

Not since their opening 2-0 loss to Wolves have United been beaten by more than one goal, and in this instance that was firmly down to Ramsdale.

He made seven saves, in stark contrast to the solitary stop from Ederson at the other end.

What's next?

After the midweek visit of Olympiacos in the Champions League, City tackle Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in an early test of both sides' title credentials. The Blades, firm bystanders in that particular race, travel to Chelsea the day before.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was perplexed by how VAR dealt with a penalty claim during his side's 1-0 loss at Manchester City.

Raheem Sterling scored the only goal midway through the first half at the Etihad Stadium, where Arsenal played a full part in an absorbing contest.

Arteta bemoaned a trio of clear-cut chances that went begging before the break, City goalkeeper Ederson standing firm to twice deny Bukayo Saka before saving from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

When defending a corner in first-half stoppage time, Kyle Walker's boot came close to Gabriel's head and Arteta questioned why a more thorough video examination of the incident did not take place.

"That has to be checked," he told Sky Sports.

"They said that they checked, and I said, 'How the hell have you checked if you took two seconds to check that action?'. Obviously, there is something there."

Despite ruing those missed chances, former City assistant Arteta had plenty of praise for how his team approached the match.

"I am upset because I think we deserved more from the game," he said. "I am extremely happy with the performance we put in against a top, top team, to play with the courage we did and to make it as difficult as we did, I cannot demand much more from the players.

"When you have three big chances in this game, you have to score. I think the three of them were really good chances and then the situation we have with Kyle Walker from the corner."

Arteta added: "We've come a long way. I'm extremely happy. I was in that dressing room for four years and I know what it takes for a team to do what we've done here."

Pep Guardiola and defenders. It's been an expensive exercise for Manchester City.

Still trying to fill the glaring void left by long-serving captain Vincent Kompany in 2019, and reeling after a stunning 5-2 Premier League drubbing at the hands of Leicester City, Manchester City have turned to Ruben Dias.

Benfica and Portugal centre-back Dias will cost City an initial £62million (€68m), plus £2.1m (€3.6m) in add-ons should the 23-year-old trigger various performance-related clauses.

Sunday's announcement, with Nicolas Otamendi set to move in the opposite direction, takes Guardiola's spending as City manager on defenders to in excess of £410m (€451m) since 2016.

While City have won two Premier League titles under Guardiola, the team's defence remains an Achilles heel, especially in pursuit of European glory.

As City welcome Dias to Manchester, we look at Guardiola's previous defender signings while in the Citizens dugout.

 

Ruben Dias €68m (£62m)

He is Guardiola's latest big-money defensive signing. Previously linked to the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham, Dias arrives having emerged from Benfica's academy ahead of the 2017-18 season. He helped Benfica to Primeira Liga glory in 2018-19.

Joao Cancelo €65m (£59m)

The full-back position is a complex area for Guardiola, whose formation often centres on inverted full-backs and overloads. City splashed the cash on Cancelo last year but question marks remain over the 26-year-old Portugal international.

Aymeric Laporte €65m (£59m)

Of all of Guardiola's recruits in central defence, Laporte is the only one to truly convince. However, Laporte's fitness has proven a problem since being prised away from Athletic Bilbao two years ago.

Benjamin Mendy €57.5m (£52m)

A key member in Monaco's memorable run to the 2016-17 Champions League semi-finals and triumphant Ligue 1 campaign, Mendy arrived amid much fanfare in 2017. Mendy's off-field activities and his knee issues have prevented City from seeing the best of the France international left-back week in, week out.

John Stones €55.6m (£50m)

Identified as the ideal ball-playing centre-back to fit into Guardiola's system, it has not gone according to plan for Stones, who left Everton in 2016. After a promising start to life, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss appears to have lost faith in the often-injured Englishman.

Kyle Walker €52.7m (£48m)

Walker has served well under Guardiola, having joined as one of the best players in the league in 2017. Aside from a couple of dips in form and questionable off-field choices, the ex-Tottenham full-back remains important to what Pep is trying to achieve in Manchester.

Nathan Ake €45.3m (£41m)

Ake was the first defender through the door ahead of the 2020-21 season after City were dethroned by Liverpool last term. Lured away from relegated Bournemouth, the left-footed centre-back has started both of City's Premier League fixtures, scoring in the humbling defeat to Leicester.

Danilo €30m (£27m)

The Brazilian full-back is no longer a City player. Part of the deal that saw Cancelo swap Juventus for City in 2019, Danilo arrived as a LaLiga champion and two-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid. But the 29-year-old never really convinced in a City shirt.

Angelino €12m (£10.9m)

Part of City's youth team from 2013, Angelino eventually left for Dutch giants PSV five years later. After impressing in Eindhoven, City triggered their buy-back clause to re-sign the Spaniard in July 2019. Angelino made 12 appearances before being loaned out to RB Leipzig in the second half of last season. Despite interest from Barca, he is back on loan in Leipzig.

Oleksandr Zinchenko €2m (£1.8m)

The 23-year-old left-back was plucked from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2016. Following a couple of loan spells, Guardiola has often called on Zinchenko, who played 19 Premier League matches in 2019-20.

Kyle Walker fears he could be near the end of his international career after being sent off during England's 1-0 win over Iceland in the Nations League.

The Three Lions overcame their Euro 2016 tormentors when a turgid affair exploded into stoppage-time drama – Raheem Sterling winning and converting a 91st-minute penalty as Sverrir Ingason joined Walker in receiving his marching orders before Birkir Bjarnason missed a subsequent spot-kick for the hosts.

England's increasingly laboured attempts to secure victory before that point were thrown into flux when Walker, already booked, launched into a rash challenge on Arnor Ingvi Traustason with 20 minutes remaining.

A mainstay of England's run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, Walker did not feature for his country last season.

In that context and considering competition from the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier and the as-yet uncapped Aaron Wan-Bissaka, the 30-year-old Manchester City defender acknowledges his error could come with significant ramifications.

"To get sent off for your country is never a nice moment, especially after being out of the team for so long," Walker told Sky Sports.

"I have to take full blame. I'm an experienced player and I should know when I'm on a yellow card not to make a rash challenge like that.

"It's unacceptable from me.

"[Wanting to impress] possibly plays a big part in it but I don't want to blame that. I'm a seasoned professional and I've played a lot of games.

"So I should know how to manage a game if I'm on a yellow card. I put myself in a situation I shouldn't have been in. I think you have to say fair play to the lads for digging in and fighting and getting the win we desperately wanted."

Walker's City team-mate Phil Foden made his England debut with an assured showing in midfield, while Manchester United teenager Mason Greenwood came off the bench for a first senior cap – underlining the ever-evolving options at Southgate's disposal.

"It's brilliant for English football," Walker said. "Throughout the age groups they've gone and won things.

"Phil was involved in the [2017] World Cup win for the under-20. They're proving it at club level for big clubs.

"The world's their oyster. Obviously I know Phil - and Mason seems to be a very good player. He's sharp and can finish so I wish them all the best."

He added: "That's the sad thing about being a footballer. It does come to an end sometimes and I'm probably near the end on my international career

"I still feel very energetic, I feel like I've got a lot in the legs. Hopefully I will be back. It hurts."

Kyle Walker says winning the Champions League is imperative for putting Manchester City onto the "next pedestal".

A 2-1 win at home to Real Madrid last week saw City reach the quarter-finals of Europe's premier club competition courtesy of a 4-2 aggregate triumph in their delayed last-16 tie.

Domestically, it has been a trophy-laded decade for City, who have won the Premier League four times, the FA Cup twice and the EFL Cup on five occasions since 2011.

The Champions League has proven an elusive trophy, though, with a run to the semi-finals in the 2015-2016 season the furthest they have managed.

England full-back Walker, who joined from Tottenham ahead of the 2017-18 campaign, concedes his own ambitions have changed and feels winning the Champions League will put City on another level.

"I think if you had asked me this two years ago when I signed here, I would have probably said that the Premier League was the big one for me having not won it before," he said.

"Now I have collected two of them and a number of others and this is the one that I want, and I can probably speak on behalf of the whole squad and Manchester City as well for what they need as a club to put them onto that next pedestal."

City's last-eight date with Lyon is being played in Lisbon as a straight-knockout game with UEFA altering the competition's format due to the delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Walker acknowledges the different circumstances but insists City will not waver from their approach.

"It is a unique situation that we are in but I feel like we just have to attack it as we attack every game, whether that is in the Premier League, cups or Champions League," he added.

"We feel that our team as a whole and the way that we play and our philosophy is going to stand us in good stead to get us to where we want to be in the tournament, which is the final."

City's defeat of LaLiga champions Madrid means they start as favourites but Lyon took four points off Pep Guardiola's side in last season's Champions League and defeated Serie A winners Juventus to get to this stage.

Walker says such facts prove Lyon are not a team to take lightly.

"I think [that] speaks volumes. This year they don't have the players that they had when we played against them but you need to be a very good team, very disciplined, to beat Juventus over two legs," he said.

"We are just going to use the gameplan, listen to the tactics from the boss and hopefully that will see us over the line.

"I feel it can swing our way in that it is over just the one leg and we can really attack the game and play every game like a final."

Manchester City's Phil Foden, not Harry Kane, is the best young player Kyle Walker has ever seen.

Foden, 20, is a product of City's academy and has been tipped to be the long-term successor to David Silva in midfield.

A technically gifted playmaker, Foden has made 20 Premier League appearances this season, already seven more than the 13 he made in 2018-19, while three of his six starts have come since football resumed last month after the coronavirus hiatus.

With Silva set to depart at the end of the season, Foden looks poised to take on a more integral role next term, and former Tottenham star Walker is excited to see what the England Under-21 international goes on to achieve.

"The sky is the limit [for Foden]," Walker said. "He is the best youngster I have ever seen.

"That is after playing at Tottenham with the likes of Harry Kane, Ryan Mason, Andros Townsend, Steven Caulker, Harry Winks, who are very, very good players.

"Phil is leaps ahead of them for me, just because his knowledge of the game. I don't know if it is because he is constantly watching David Silva and learning from him, or just his knowledge of the game.

"I think if he just improves on his final ball on assisting and his final decision-making on that, I think that comes with experience. As a player and as a human being, he is top class and I wish him all the best in everything that he does because he deserves it all."

Walker was similarly glowing of Raheem Sterling, applauding his England colleague's work-rate.

The former Liverpool attacker netted a hat-trick in the 5-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday, taking him to within one goal of his personal best for a single Premier League season of 18.

"Raz [Sterling] has proved a lot of people wrong," Walker added. "Since I have been training with him he has worked hard, devoted himself to the game and on wanting to become a better player, I think he is getting the rewards now.

"To score lucky goals like he did at the weekend is being in the right place at the right time, and before that would have probably hit his head and gone wide and now it is in the back of the net.

"I think that is a reward for the hard work he has been putting in on a weekly basis in the training sessions."

Dean Henderson has a decision to make as he continues to impress on loan at Sheffield United.

He is Manchester United's future number one, but Premier League rivals Chelsea are reportedly interested.

Could the 23-year-old goalkeeper swap Old Trafford for Stamford Bridge?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED AND CHELSEA IN TUG-OF-WAR OVER HENDERSON

Chelsea are trying to lure Dean Henderson away from Manchester United, according to The Sun.

Henderson has flourished at Sheffield United during his loan spell away from United.

Manchester United are offering Henderson a new contract amid doubts over David De Gea but Chelsea are reportedly plotting a big-money move for the Englishman.

 

ROUND-UP

- It appears as though Juventus will miss out on Barcelona midfielder Arthur. Marca says Arthur has rejected an annual salary of €5million to move to Turin.

- Liverpool are eyeing Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele after missing out on Timo Werner, claims Bleacher Report. Werner swapped RB Leipzig for Chelsea.

Inter are interested in Hertha Berlin's Matheus Cunha, reports Calciomercato. The 21-year-old Brazilian only arrived from Leipzig in January.

Jadon Sancho's head is already at Manchester United, according to German journalist Heiko Wasser. Borussia Dortmund star Sancho has been heavily tipped to join United, while the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid are also eyeing the England international.

- Staying at San Siro and The Suns claims Inter want to sign Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker.

Dortmund have reached an agreement with Thomas Meunier to bring the Paris Saint-Germain full-back to the Bundesliga on a free transfer. It is also reported that Edinson Cavani will not sign a new deal and will sit out PSG's Champions League fixtures. He has been linked to Atletico Madrid and Inter.

- The Daily Mail says Juve are interested in bringing Wolves striker Raul Jimenez to Serie A amid interest from United and Madrid.

- Ansu Fati to United? Mundo Deportivo reports the Barca sensation wants to stay at Camp Nou and fight for his place.

Pep Guardiola has defended Kyle Walker after criticism of the Manchester City defender's behaviour in the lockdown period.

The England international was reported by The Sun to have committed three breaches of coronavirus stay-at-home rules in 24 hours last month.

That came after he apologised in April for hosting a party with a friend and two women at his home in Cheshire.

City said at the time of the first allegations they were "disappointed" by the claims and would conduct an internal investigation.

Walker, 30, later said he felt "harassed" by the media attention on his private life, claiming his behaviour was being "scrutinised without any context".

It was claimed that in May he visited his parents and sister before lockdown rules were eased, and also took a bicycle ride with a friend.

City manager Guardiola said in a news conference on Tuesday: "I judge my players with what happens on the pitch.

"I think Kyle made a brave statement. What I want is the best for him and especially his family. His wife and kids, parents - that is what we want.

"As a human being that always goes first [rather] than the football player, and I think Kyle expressed his thoughts in his statement."

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