Peter Crouch, a former Liverpool striker, says Joao Cancelo is as vital to Manchester City as Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland.
Cancelo has been one of Pep Guardiola’s most consistent players since joining the Premier League club for a sum in the region of £58 million from Juventus.
Guardiola has used both him and Kyle Walker in the same lineup, with the Portugal international playing as a left defender.
And, despite being in an unusual situation, the 28-year-old has been playing his greatest football of his career.
Cancelo has received a lot of praise as a result, with Crouch stating that he is “as vital” to Guardiola as Haaland and De Bruyne.
The two Man City stars are widely regarded as the best two players at the club and have now formed an unfair partnership following Haaland’s summer move from Borussia Dortmund.
Crouch told BT Sport on Tuesday: “I’d put him as important as De Bruyne or Haaland. He has that big an effect on the game.”
The former England striker’s BT Sport colleagues Owen Hargreaves and Joleon Lescott agreed, with the former admitting Cancelo doesn’t get as much praise as he should.
“He probably doesn’t get the credit that he deserves. This guy can play right-back, he can play left-back and you can argue that he’s one of the best in the world in both positions,” Hargreaves said.
“He’s the only one you could say about that. Trent (Alexander-Arnold) couldn’t play left-back, Reece (James) couldn’t play left-back. He plays like a No. 10, but he’s a full-back.”
Lescott reckons Cancelo would get “more recognition” if he was from England.
“I think if he’s English, he’s getting more recognition, we’re going to highlight it more,” Lescott added.
“I think teams are now having to select their opposite winger to combat him. Similar to the way it was with Ashley Cole.”
“I had to do that in the Champions League final. You had to recognise that Ash was a threat. You have to have a game plan for him (Cancelo), he’s that good,” Hargreaves agreed.