Zack Steffen is earning more lofty praise from Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola in his first full season at the Etihad Stadium.
The 25-year-old is backing up Ederson, one of the best keepers in the world, but has looked good in eight first team appearances with City.
Steffen has allowed a total of four goals in those matches, blanking Marseille in the Champions League and Manchester United in the League Cup while coming within minutes of a shutout of Chelsea on his Premier League debut.
“We’re more than happy [with Steffen],” he said. “I trust a lot in Xabi, our goalkeeper trainer. He spoke about Zack two or three seasons ago, said that this guy will be top, and we said, ‘Okay, if you believe it.’ He went to Germany last season, came here, and from day one adapted well. He’s beloved in the locker room. I’m ‘incredibly delighted. We cannot deny.”
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Xabi, by the way, is Xabier Mancisidor. He was with Manuel Pellegrini at Real Madrid and Malaga before following the Chilean to Man City, where he stayed on staff for new boss Pep Guardiola.
Steffen has 19 USMNT caps and is widely viewed as the No. 1 keeper in Gregg Berhalter’s pool, a status buttressed by their time spent together in Columbus.
He’s only two years younger than Ederson, so who knows how long Steffen will be content to be the cup goalkeeper at City? But Guardiola is happy that Steffen is in the fold for the Premier League leaders.
“He’s played incredibly at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford away,” Guardiola said. “His response was magnificent. Hopefully he’s happy here. What we want is that he’s happy, enjoying, growing… He’s a young, young keeper, and we’re happy to have him.”