At 19 years of age, Pablo Maffeo has already earned the trust of one of football’s most successful managers in Pep Guardiola.
The young full-back, signed from Espanyol’s youth teams at the age of 15, has already made his European and cup debuts for Manchester City, and is very likely to start, at this rate, one Premier League game before the end of the season.
Playing the full 90 minutes in his side’s 1-0 defeat in the EFL Cup against Manchester United, the defender demonstrated why Guardiola trusted him with the job, putting in a very professional and composed performance against Mourinho’s men, who were practically at full-strength.
However, before the game, he was a mess.
Interviewed by El Periodico about his time in England so far, the youngster recalled his emotions when his manager told him he would be starting against their biggest rivals.
He said: “When Pep told me I would play, I was very nervous. To have you English debut in a Manchester derby against those players that I watched on TV, and at Old Trafford! It was something incredible. When the team came out and they said my name: ‘Pablo Maffeo’…”
“I was by myself in my room, I was climbing the walls. The day felt like it was going on forever. I didn’t eat, didn’t have a ‘siesta’, nothing. I played 200 games on my phone to think about other things, but it didn’t work. I had a book, but I couldn’t open it. I got goosebumps when I got on the field.”
Once the game ended, Maffeo reveals Pep came up to him and gave him a big hug, telling him ‘Pablo, you played really well’, all of this despite the 1-0 loss.
With the likes of Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta already on the wrong side of 30, it wouldn’t be surprising if Maffeo was gradually introduced by Pep as the season went on.
After all, he’s already earned his trust.