Do you know the full name of famous footballer Rodri? Can you name two footballers who João Cancelo also played with before their time in Manchester City? It’s that time of the week to Know Your Players, where we bring you fun facts on our Blues.
In this special edition, we’re going over not three, but four players: Rodri, João Cancelo, Steph Houghton, and Esme Morgan!
Born in Madrid, Rodri started his youth career aged 11 when he joined Atlético Madrid in 2007. Having just joined last year and playing at number 16, City has high hopes as the Spaniard learns from manager and ex-midfielder Pep Guardiola and looks out for nuances in the game.
- Rodri was born Rodrigo Hernández Cascante.
- Back in February, he set a new Premier League record for most passes in a single game. In a 2-0 victory against West Ham, the midfielder completed 178 out of 188 attempted passes.
- On 4 August 2019 he made his City debut in the FA Community Shield match vs. Liverpool at Wembley Stadium, where our Blues won on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Since joining City that summer, he’s made 26 appearances to date.
- His Premier League debut resulted in a 5-0 victory over West Ham six days after his transfer.
- While playing for Villareal, he obtained a degree in Business and Economics at the Universidad de Castellón in eastern Spain.
Signing over to City from Juventus in August 2019, many consider João Cancelo one of the most promising footballers today. The Portugal international plays at number 27 and is quite the versatile defender. It won’t be long until we see more of him in the starting XI!
- His versatility in both right and left wing, as well as his certainty in possession are what caught the attention of ManCity manager Pep Guardiola. Speaking to Manchester Evening News, he said, “[João] has a special quality and he can help us in many, many games.”
- His professional career began with Benfica, where he helped the team win the 2013 U19 Portuguese Championship, scoring twice in the final.
- He’s played alongside two Cityzens before – with Bernardo Silva during his time in Benfica and with Nicolas Otamendi while he was on loan at Valencia in 2014/15.
- Cancelo has represented Portugal in every age level and helped with the team’s UEFA Nations League victory last year.
- Compatriot and teammate Bernardo Silva was one of the reasons he moved to City. Upon his transfer, Cancelo was quoted saying, “[Silva] told me that it is an amazing club and the atmosphere is great. That’s also one of the reasons why I’ve decided to come. He is a player I admire a lot.”
Next we have Steph Houghton, number 6 and captain of the Manchester City Women’s Team. Internationally, she’s represented England in every level and made over 100 appearances to date.
- In an interview with Boots, when asked about the mistaken belief that one can’t be feminine and play football, Houghton replied, “Ten or 15 years ago many of us faced that, in terms of hearing, ‘It’s a man’s sport, you shouldn’t be playing,’ or ‘You look manly’. Now though, people can see that we’re athletes, and that we train hard in order to be athletic and as fit as we can possibly be.”
- She’s a true leader. Throughout the 2014 season, she was the essential support to the rest of the team, which awarded her the captain’s armband for England.
- She was the first female to appear on the front cover of Shoot Magazine.
Last but not least is talented young footballer Esme Morgan. Born in 2000, the defender is calm and collected on the field, eager to absorb all she can from her more experienced peers. With her passion and determination unfazed, she’s looking at a bright future in this sport.
- Morgan has been a City fan all her life. Though she grew up in Sheffield, her parents are Mancunian and City supporters.
- She joined City in 20 September 2017. In the week of her debut match, Morgan also found out her GCSE results – nine As and one B! How many teenagers can say they play for their dream team AND aced their classes?
- She began playing football at four years old with Ecclesal Rangers boys’ team. She jokes that, as a child, she’d only go for walks with her family if they brought a football along.
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading, as this edition concludes our first round of Know Your Players! We’ll be back to bring you more footballer fun facts; in the meantime, stay tuned to QBuzz Sports to get updates on all you need to know about QNET and Manchester City.