Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has hit out at his former youth player Jadon Sancho for failing to take up the 'challenge' of breaking through at Etihad Stadium.
The England international upped sticks in 2017 in favour of a move to Borussia Dortmund and is now one of the most highly rated youngsters in Europe, paving the way for other frustrated youth stars to get first-team football in Germany.
Guardiola has poked at Sancho for not wanting to take up the challenge at Manchester City unlike his former youth teammate Phil Foden, but he adds that things have probably worked out for the best for both parties.
"He didn't want to take this challenge, this opportunity to discover if he was able to," Guardiola said, quoted by Standard Sport. "He decided to go there. So it's perfect.
"It's going well and congratulations on what he is doing. He is doing an incredible performance. He did incredibly well this season. What would have happened this season [here]? I don’t know. With the players, it depends on them and what they do on the pitch."
While it now seems unlikely that Sancho will ever drop out of the national team setup, Manchester City's Foden is facing a race against time to break into Gareth Southgate's squad in time for Euro 2020.
But Guardiola insists that his attempts at drip-feeding Foden first-team football will benefit the teenager in the long-run, adding that it's important not to build up the hype surrounding the 18-year-old unlike what's happened with Sancho at Dortmund.
"Don’t make them play a lot of minutes. If they play a lot of minutes, everyone is going to be demanding they play for the national team," Guardiola added.
"Of course he can play more minutes, but he could play less. We cannot forget he is 18 years old and it's the first season he’s played incredible minutes in the first team ... the process has to be calm.
"How many young players go immediately to the international team and after that disappear from the map? He's an incredible talent, but he still has a lot of things to improve. It's simple for his age. At his age, he needs time to grow and to be created.
"It's important he knows he is able to play with us and he knows we can trust him. That is the most important thing."