Everton boss Ronald Koeman is eagerly anticipating the upcoming Premier League trip to Manchester City and has claimed he taught Pep Guardiola “the Dutch style” during their time together at Barcelona.
Koeman was asked to take Guardiola – who has steered City top of the Premier League with seven games of the new season gone – under his wings when Johan Cruyff promoted the Spaniard to the first team at Barcelona and the current Everton manager has nothing but fond memories of his counterpart.
“Cruyff had seen this young player in the academy, seen him develop into a decent player in the reserves and he thought the time was there to draft him into the first-team squad. According to Cruyff this boy was very bright, he had a quick brain and he needed a more experienced player to look after him. I told him it was fine [to have him as my new room-mate],” Koeman was quoted as saying by the Mirror.
“If the player was a talent and a good kid, I would help him. So he told me that from now on I was going to look after a boy called Pep. He told me I was going to be his tutor, help him develop and make sure he learns the Dutch style of playing. I then spent several years with Pep in hotel rooms before every game, every trip – in pre-season, in Europe, you name it.
“Pep was a fantastic guy. He was eager to learn, he wanted to know everything. Pep wanted to know about the Dutch school of football. More than any other player he wanted to know about one-touch football, about positional play, one touch in small spaces. He loved the way Cruyff wanted to play with Barcelona.
“But what struck me with Pep was that he was a very ordinary, down-to-earth guy. He never had arrogant streaks. He did not behave like a star because he was playing for Barcelona — he was driving a second-hand Golf when he came in the squad and after three years in the first team, he was still driving the same car.”