The new ‘next best thing’ at Manchester City since his brief cameo in the Premier League and his goal in the EFL Cup, Aleix Garcia is a player right up Pep Guardiola’s street.

The 19-year-old central midfielder’s abilities have clearly already caught the Spaniard’s eye, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if we ended up seeing a lot more of him over the next eight months or so.

One man isn’t that surprised to see him breakthrough, though, and that’s Southampton midfielder Oriol Romeu, who has known Garcia from a very young age.

Both from Ulldecona in Catalonia, the midfielders, despite their six-year age gap, know each other really well, and so do their families.

Speaking to El Confidencial in Spain, Romeu remembers the first time he ever saw Aleix Garcia play.

He said: “It was on the school pitch. A player told me to watch the kid with the blonde mane. I was 14 and at Barcelona. He must’ve been eight. You could already see he had something.

“He was always one step ahead of everyone else. He was very good and scored loads of goals that day. He quickly went to Villarreal and he developed.

“Aleix has great vision and a great passing range. Now that he’s playing in a double pivot or as a defensive midfielder, he gets the ball more.”

With so many talented midfielders at Manchester City, it’s going to take a lot for Garcia to earn himself a regular spot in Pep Guardiola’s side, but if his EFL Cup performance and Oriol Romeu’s judgment as a 14-year-old are anything to go by, it might happen sooner rather than later.