Pep Guardiola: English game will 'always be grateful' for Spaniard - Gary Lineker

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Guardiola great for English game - Lineker

English football will "always be grateful" for the influence of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, ex-England striker Gary Lineker says.

City were confirmed as Premier League champions on Sunday after Manchester United's 1-0 defeat to West Brom.

It is their third title in seven seasons but their first under the Spaniard in his second season at City.

"I think unquestionably Guardiola will influence the style of football in this country," Lineker said.

"Not only is it pleasing on the eye, but it's bringing success.

"We all know that success is copied and imitated by other teams, other coaches and children playing the game."

Guardiola became City's manager in 2016 having led Bayern Munich to three successive Bundesliga titles. He was previously Barcelona's most successful manager with 14 trophies in four years.

Lineker on City's season

Etihad Stadium
City were crowned Premier League champions on Sunday after Manchester United's defeat to West Brom

I think Manchester City's season has been phenomenal in many ways, not just the emphatic nature of winning the league, but the style of football that they have played has been so joyous at times.

It's been a breath of fresh air in many ways - attacking, open, adventurous football with really good players.

Of course it's been a successful season, because they've won the league and won it in style and they've won it comfortably.

It's too early to assess the magnitude of the achievement of this Manchester City side. They've got to go on and probably win the Champions League at some point to compare them to the great Liverpool sides and the great Manchester United sides that we've seen.

It's early days but you've got to start somewhere, and in terms of their own levels of greatness, they've started very well.

Lineker on Guardiola

Pep Guardiola
Guardiola took over as City manager in 2016

The seriously interesting thing is how Guardiola has improved so many footballers. Not footballers who are really young, but players like Kyle Walker, Fernandinho and even Kevin de Bruyne.

I think that's where his levels of management are above everyone else's, certainly this season.

I think Guardiola is great for the English game. So many people said he couldn't play his style of football in the Premier League.

I'm glad he's stuck with his principles, that his style of football came through. He has not only proved you can win with it, it's so beautiful to watch at times.

We'll always be grateful in the Premier League and English football because we all know that success is copied and imitated by other teams, other coaches and children playing the game.

Lineker on the Champions League

Manchester City players
Manchester City crashed out of the Champions League quarter-finals with a 5-1 aggregate defeat to Liverpool

Everyone says Guardiola has to win the Champions League. The Champions League is a knockout competition, it's the biggest competition in Europe, but it's tough to win.

He'll be frustrated [by this season's European campaign] because obviously he likes to play great football and the great managers always want more.

In European football, anything can happen on a given night. All you need is 30 minutes of bad football like they played at Anfield and you're out.

He'll want to put that right, he'll desperately want to win it with Manchester City, so I sense it might come at some point.

Lineker on City's future

Manchester City celebrate
Match of the Day host Lineker thinks City are on course for long-term success

We could be looking at a dynasty with City although it's too early to say as you've got to have a degree of longevity to get that kind of recognition.

But they're heading in the right direction, they're playing football the like of which we've possibly never seen before, and they're winning.

If they can keep that going for three or four years, and keep the levels as high as they have been this season, they'll be competing to be one of the greatest sides in English history, if not world club football history.

I think the biggest threat in the near future is going on to win the league again, and the fact that other teams are improving. As we've seen over the last year or two, Liverpool in particular and Tottenham are gaining momentum.

Guardiola will want to build on this season and he'll want to improve little areas. I doubt they'll need to spend loads of money this summer, but who knows?

Gary Lineker was speaking to BBC Sport's Richard Conway

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