Rodri’s suspension may be a real headache for Pep Guardiola - but it presents a big opportunity for other Manchester City stars.
That’s the verdict of one BBC pundit after the midfielder was sent off in City’s 2-0 win against Nottingham Forest on Saturday after raising his hands to the neck of Morgan Gibbs-White.
No-one has played more Premier League games than the Spaniard since he arrived at the Etihad From Atletico Madrid back in 2019. But now the 27-year-old will miss games against Newcastle, Wolves and Arsenal as the ban applies to all domestic competitions.
Kalvin Phillips has endured a difficult time at City since his move from Leeds and came off the bench following Rodri’s dismissal. The England man had played just 13 minutes of football for City this season before coming on early in the second half on Saturday.
Mateo Kovacic is another player who could fill in and the summer arrival from Chelsea is expected back soon having struggled with injury as of late.
Speaking on Match of the Day, Martin Keown said: “Kovacic might come in, Kalvin Phillips, it’s a big opportunity for someone to come in but they’re big boots to fill. Rodri’s been brilliant for them. He’s such a patient player. He sits out of it, gives you that extra protection in front of the defence while everyone’s flying forward.”
Asked if he was angry with Rodri post-match, Guardiola admitted: “Yes. I don’t like to play with 10 for our faults. He has apologised.”
Phil Foden also conceded that the influential midfielder was going to be a "big miss".
“He is one of our most important players and he seems to play all the minutes," he said. "He is going to be a big miss, but we have players to step up now and we are going to need them.”