Jack Grealish and Jeremy Doku, two Manchester City wingers, have been challenged by Pep Guardiola to justify their inclusion in his attack.
Grealish played a significant role in City’s treble-winning campaign last year, but the English winger has struggled with injuries this time around.
The former Aston Villa player, who cost City 100 million pounds in 2021, has just started playing again after watching Belgian rookie Doku excel without him.
Doku, who was acquired from Rennes in the offseason, presents a different kind of flank threat than Grealish, and some City supporters have demanded that the 21-year-old make his Premier League debut against Wolves on Saturday.
“Jeremy can play on the right as well. So who is going to play more, who is going to perform better?” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.
“Phil Foden can play on the left too. So they compete with Phil Foden as well.
“The guy who performs well and feels better than the other one is going to have more chances to play. Always it has been like that.”
With six victories in six games, City has gotten off to a fast start in their title defense.
Guardiola’s team is vying for an unprecedented fourth straight Premier League title, and the Spaniard shrugged at predictions that his team will win easily against a Wolves team that has only collected four points in six games at Molineux.
“Normally all the games we play are ‘easy’ – and if we don’t win the Premier League, 10 points in front, in November, it’s a disaster! I know exactly what it is,” he said sarcastically.
“(Wolves boss Gary) O’Neil did an incredible job at Bournemouth and I have the feeling they will do it too.
“It is a team where the quality is there. Hopefully we can respond with these next three games before the international break.”
City will again be without John Stones and Bernardo Silva this weekend.
England defender Stones has not played since City’s Community Shield clash with Arsenal on August 6 due to a thigh issue.
After being substituted last week in the Champions League match against Red Star Belgrade, Silva has been sidelined.
In addition, Rodri is not playing for City as he serves the second game of a three-game suspension after being dismissed in last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest.
“Just for the amount Rodri has played, the consistency – of course, it is not easy to replace,” Guardiola added.