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Man City ace Rico Lewis has captained England at youth level, has Pep Guardiola’s admiration and is a record breaker

AS nights go, Rico Lewis admitted they won’t get any better than this.

The Manchester City right-back, just 17, made his Champions League debut for the club in the 3-1 win over Sevilla.

Rico Lewis celebrates scoring Man City’s equaliser against Sevilla
Lewis fired home impressively to become City’s youngest ever Champions League scorer

Better still, with his side trailing he scored a precise finish to get his side level – and a new hero was born.

After the game, he declared on Instagram: “Words can’t describe the feeling. First start and goal for this amazing club, I won’t forget this day for the rest of my life, can’t thank the fans enough, amazing as usual.”

While his manager Pep Guardiola was full of admiration for his young buck and revealed why he threw him in at the deep end.

The Spaniard said: “We don’t give present… he had to earn it. We have seen him since day one in pre-season and I said: this guy has something special.”

He added: “He’s so clever, so intelligent. If you say something, he understands everything. I’m so happy.”

Fans certainly appreciated the defender’s efforts, giving him a standing ovation when he was replaced in the 85th minute for first choice Joao Cancelo.

His career is off and running at the Etihad.

Family ties

Rico isn’t the only Lewis on Man City’s books. His sister Sacha also trains with their academy.

Their sporting genes emanate from their father, Rick.

He is a two-time muay Thai British champion who runs a gym in Bury, where Rico and Sacha grew up.

They both trained with their dad when they were younger, but football soon took over.

Lewis joined City when he was eight years old, and impressed as he rose up the ranks.

By 15, he was captain material – leading England at youth level and starring for City’s U18’s.

Last season, he skippered City’s U18’s to the Under-18 Premier League National championship.

His maturity and intelligence, which Guardiola touched on after Wednesday’s game, was clear to see very early on.

Last season Lewis captained City to the Under-18 Premier League National championship
Guardiola has been impressed with Lewis and his intelligence

Guardiola’s first impression

From the offset, the Spanish tactician knew Lewis was the real deal.

It took just two minutes of their pre-season tour in the summer for Guardiola to clock on to what his academy coaches were saying.

They insisted the Catalan took Lewis to the US instead of with the youth team to Croatia.

And Guardiola wasn’t disappointed.

“The good players you realise in two minutes,” Guardiola said.

“We saw it from day one in the USA in the pre-season, in the training sessions where (I thought), ‘Oh, this guy has something special’.”

His versatility is also key to his manager’s thoughts on how to use him – with the option of playing the youngster at right-back, right-wing or even as a holding midfielder.

The future’s bright

For now, a start in the Premier League is some way off.

He has earned some minutes in the final stages against Nottingham Forest and Southampton, but with full-backs including Kyle Walker, Joao Cancelo, Sergio Gomez and Nathan Ake – competition is fierce.

Either way, Lewis can be proud of his achievements netting against Sevilla.

Right-back Lewis gallops forward against Sevilla
Record breaker Lewis beat Karim Benzema to become the youngest player in Champions League history to score on their first start

He became a record breaker for City – as their youngest ever scorer in the Champions League.

And he also beat Karim Benzema to become the youngest player in Champions League history to score on their first start.

If he has as half a decent career as that legend of the game in the competition, he will definitely have done alright.

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