'Rodri plays at Fernandinho's level' – Laporte hails Man City's record signing

The Spaniard is capable of matching the Brazilian’s consistently high level of performances, according to his Etihad Stadium team-mates

Aymeric Laporte and Ederson are already confident Rodri is the right man to provide competition to Fernandinho in the Manchester City midfield.

City lacked a genuine alternative to key man Fernandinho in the holding role last season, who is approaching the twilight years of his career at 34.

Guardiola identified the need for defensive-midfield cover during the summer transfer window and Rodri has since arrived from Atletico Madrid in a club-record £63 million ($76m) deal.

Rodri started at West Ham on Saturday and soon looked up to speed in a 5-0 win at London Stadium.

A Raheem Sterling hat-trick and goals from attacking duo Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero ensured City got their latest title defence off to a flyer.

Laporte praised Rodri’s ability to move the ball out of tight spaces in the middle of the pitch, comparing the Spaniard to Fernandinho.

“He can do that at Fernandinho’s level,” Laporte told The Athletic. “Fernandinho does it a lot.

“I think the two are very good, they offer a lot to the team, most of all when we play out from the back.”

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And goalkeeper Ederson recognises the importance of City having depth in the one position where previously they were light.

“He plays the same way as Fernandinho, he’s strong in the air, goes up well, he fights well,” Ederson added.

“That’s important because last season we only had Fernandinho in this position and now we have two great players.”

Next up for City is a huge home clash against Tottenham, who opened their account for the new season with a 3-1 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.

A trip to Bournemouth follows for Guardiola’s side eight days later, as they continue to pursue a third successive Premier League crown.

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