Pep Guardiola’s assistant manager Juanma Lillo has left the club to take up a coaching role in Qatar and the Manchester City boss has identified his replacement
Manchester City are lining up their former academy coach Enzo Maresca as Pep Guardiola’s new No.2.
Maresca, 42, is in the frame to replace the influential Juanma Lillo after the Spaniard took up an offer to manage the Qatari club Al-Saad Sports Club during the week. He is a former Italy Under-21 international who started his career at West Brom in 1998 after a youth career with AC Milan and Cagliari.
Maresca guided City’s EDS squad to the first of back-to-back Premier League 2 titles in 2021. He left the Etihad last summer to become coach of Italian club Parma. Maresca was sacked after just five months in the job, but he is well regarded by City and is seen as an ideal successor to Lillo.
He played in Italy for Juventus, Bologna and Fiorentina and also had spells in Spain and Greece before embarking on a coaching career. Maresca worked at Sevilla, Escoli and West Ham before moving into City’s academy in 2020.
Meanwhile, the son of former City striker Uwe Rosler has revealed it was the “dream” of his friend Erling Haaland to play for City. Colin Rosler, who also played alongside Haaland for Norway’s youth team having qualified through his mother, is now at Lillestrom and has opened up on the friendship between the two families.
Rosler jnr said: “When we first met, one of the first things we talked about was City. We obviously both had that connection of our dads playing for the club, though a few years apart, plus the fact we’d both been City fans from an early age. He’s always been a Blue and it was his dream to one day play for City.
“He came over to Manchester to visit to watch City play in the Champions League, but beforehand he came to see a UEFA Youth League game I was playing in for City. He was sat next to my mum and his dad Alfie was there and while he was watching, he said, ‘I want to come and play for this club’. He’s always had that drive and dream to one day play for City and follow in his dad’s footsteps. He’s followed City very closely and was aware of my dad’s time at the club and obviously his dad’s too, but he knows a lot of the history and what Manchester City is about. ”
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Rosler recalled the very first time he saw Haaland play and the impression it left on him. “The first time I met Erling was when we were playing Norway Under-15s team. He was tall and lanky, but not the physical presence he is today,” Rosler told City’s website. “But straight away, you could see he had something special. We had back-to-back games against Sweden, and in the second game, he mentioned at half-time that the Swedish keeper liked to stand quite far out of his goal, so at the kick-off, he shot the ball from the halfway line, over the goalkeeper and into the net.
“I’d already witnessed his ability in the training sessions, but that was an early example of what he was capable of. For me, his biggest asset was his mentality and self-belief – he did not know for certain, but right from that early age he believed that he would go on to become one of the best players in the world – even if many others did not at the time – he never stopped believing that he would get there, and he has done. ”