From Nashville to Wembley: Ederson's ability to create Man City goals does not happen by chance

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The Brazil international is a fine shot-stopper but he's so good on the ball that he has become part of his club's offensive game

Nashville, Tennessee, July 30 2017: Ederson smashes an 80-yard goal-kick to Sergio Aguero in a pre-season friendly against Tottenham.

The Manchester City striker drifts beyond Toby Alderweireld and is unfortunate not to score with his effort bouncing back off the inside of the post.

Wembley, London, October 30, 2018: Ederson’s 70-yard pass picks out Raheem Sterling. The England international sprints clear of Kieran Trippier before squaring to Riyad Mahrez to score the only goal in a 1-0 win over Spurs.

Etihad Stadium, February 13, 2021: Ilkay Gundogan sprints onto Ederson’s 70-yard pass. The German international shrugs off Davinson Sanchez’s weak challenge to score and wrap up a 3-0 victory over Jose Mourinho’s side.

Three examples against Tottenham alone that showcase the value of Ederson's unique creativity. There are countless others.

Only this month in the 2-0 victory over Burnley, he delivered a stunning 70-yard pass into the path of Mahrez with the speed and accuracy of Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady that should have led to a goal.

His passing ability is what marks Ederson out as one of the world's best goalkeepers and why he is so invaluable to Pep Guardiola.

The City boss has worked with some incredible keepers in his coaching career – Victor Valdes at Barcelona and Manuel Neuer at Bayern Munich – but he says that no other No.1 can compare with Ederson's skill with the ball.

“With his feet, he is the best,” Guardiola said. “The quality of the pass, I would say, is the best. Manuel and Victor were incredible too but the quality of the pass [from Ederson] is the best.

“I would not say who is the best [of the three overall] because I had success in the past with incredible keepers in Victor, Manuel and Eddie."

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A notoriously cool temperament and ball skills honed on the futsal pitches of Osasco city in Sao Paulo state have helped to shape Ederson's career - a goalkeeper so comfortable on the ball that he fits perfectly into Guardiola's philosophy where defending starts from the front and attacking begins at the back.

Ederson is a fundamental part of City's playing style and his contributions are not merely serendipitous. He is involved in strategic meetings – not just as a goalkeeper, but as an attacking part of their tactical planning.

During games, the Brazilian often positions himself on the edge of the box and the reasons from a defensive point of view are clear. He is alert should a team-mate lose the ball and opponents launch a quick counter-attack and will sprint out to cover any long balls fired over the top of the defence.

But he's also there as another option to open up defences.

Ederson occasionally takes the ball parallel or even ahead of his centre-backs, as City shift the ball across the pitch to find a free man to launch an attack.

And, of course, he has the ability to smash those incredible passes that instigate a direct threat on goal.

Those too are planned on the Etihad Campus training pitches under the watchful eye of Guardiola and goalkeeping coach Xabi Mancisidor.

Against Tottenham, for the brilliant third goal, Gundogan's movement from left wing to a central position was as much about planning as instinct for the situation that was unravelling.

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It was an action choreographed on the training pitch, with the goalkeeper knowing the area he was aiming to put the ball with his precision kicking.

It's an example of Guardiola's attention to the detail that his players are attuned when an opportunity for a fast move presents itself.

The City boss is quick to give his players the credit and says that he needs high-quality stars to execute what he asks of them.

And, with the addition of 14 clean sheets from his 22 Premier League appearances this season, Ederson is now starting to get recognised as one of the best and most influential goalkeepers in the world.

It could potentially see him usurp Alisson as Brazil's No.1 following the Liverpool goalkeeper's recent poor run of form for City's title rivals.

Both will be in the Selecao squad when it gets together for the World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Argentina next month and the battle for the spot has never been closer.

Guardiola, meanwhile, says it's no coincidence that players that get the most credit, are usually the ones that are the most successful.

"He has credit from the manager, backroom staff and players," Guardiola said. "He’s outstanding and he knows it.

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“But the players know: if you want [wider] credit and to be recognised, win games, win titles and you will get it.

“If you don’t win games and titles, you will not get it. It’s not more difficult than this.”

If City have any success this season, Ederson's glove prints and boot marks will be all over it.

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