RWC 2019: Pep Guardiola ready to host England rugby party if Eddie Jones wins

Press Association Sport 09:27 02/11/2019
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Pep Guardiola hopes to be able to invite England boss Eddie Jones to Manchester City as a Rugby World Cup winner.

Jones’ team face South Africa in the final in Japan on Saturday bidding to regain the trophy they won in 2003.

The Australian has spoken in the past about how he was inspired to change his coaching methods after watching Guardiola take a training session at Bayern Munich.

Guardiola is a fan of several other sports including rugby, and will be cheering on England on Saturday.

He said: “We spoke once or twice, not much honestly. He was so kind, it was a pleasure to meet him.

“We talked some movements of rugby. I’m a big fan. I don’t understand too much, I’ve never been in a game, but I watch on TV.

“I will ask him how they do to make (recovery) after the game – it’s incredible, how can they survive? I cannot imagine. We spoke about sports, about life – nothing special.

“Hopefully they can win and we invite him and his staff to come in and we can talk more. I wish him luck.”

Guardiola’s focus on Saturday will primarily be on his own team, who take on Southampton for the second time in five days at the Etihad Stadium after beating them in the Carabao Cup.

The City boss has Fernandinho available again after suspension and spoke in glowing terms about Ilkay Gundogan, who has slotted neatly into the Brazilian’s place in midfield while he has been required to drop back into defence.

Guardiola admitted he made a mistake by not using the German there sooner, saying: “One of the qualities I appreciate most is the players who are intelligent, who understand everything that happens in the game and solve it – offensively, defensively – as quick as possible.

“He can play many roles. Especially in the holding midfielder position. I didn’t expect he would be so consistent as a holding midfielder. He’s an exceptional player, one of Europe’s best.

“I didn’t use him (there) because I didn’t realise and look how wrong I was. When I didn’t have another alternative, I put him in, and I said, ‘Wow’.

“How aggressive he is without the ball, knowing exactly the movements he has to do. Of course he’s not a typical holding midfielder but we need not just defending, we need this quality of player with the ball.”

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