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Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville in fierce Sky Sports argument over Pep Guardiola ‘mistake’

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville in fierce Sky Sports argument over Pep Guardiola 'mistake'

Pep Guardiola’s treatment of Cole Palmer was the subject of debate (Image: The FA via Getty Images)

Even when they agreed on picks, Monday Night Football pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher clashed during their selections for end-of-season honors.

A heated debate broke out between Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville regarding whether Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola erred in allowing Cole Palmer to join Chelsea.

At the close of the summer transfer window, Palmer, 22, signed a £42.5 million deal to move to Stamford Bridge. Only City striker Erling Haaland has scored more goals in the Premier League this season than he has since making the switch. He has completely taken over the league.

The England international had originally planned to return to the Etihad Stadium after a year on loan. He asserted, though, that Guardiola gave him the option to remain with the first squad or to depart permanently.

Palmer claimed to be “confused” by City’s position, but Chelsea has clearly benefited from his 21 goals and 10 assists in 32 appearances. Neville and Carragher presented him with their respective awards for young player of the year on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports, but they couldn’t agree on whether City and Guardiola should be held accountable for a mistake.

“When they [Chelsea] signed him, I just thought they’ve got so many wide players, so many players they’re accumulating in those positions,” Neville said. “It goes without saying that we are aware of his talent, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted the kind of goals and results he has produced.

To be honest, I was astonished to see how talented he is and how quickly he reached his current level. The crucial question that you raise is how Manchester City could have ever let that player go.

“Bernie Silva’s career isn’t going to last forever, despite the fact that they have a lot of talented players, including [Jeremy] Doku and other players. Palmer would be an ideal substitute for Bernardo Silva, who alternates between wide and midfield roles. On Saturday, Bernardo played wide against Fulham; Palmer could fill that role.”

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville in fierce Sky Sports argument over Pep Guardiola 'mistake'

Palmer started his career with Manchester City after coming through their academy ( Image: AFP via Getty Images)

It was at this point that Carragher spoke up. “You know what I would say about that? We might say things like, ‘City made a mistake,’ or ‘Pep shouldn’t have sold him,’ when a player joins another team.

“In some ways, I really admire Pep for that. Would he have taken the field before Foden and Bernardo Silva? He wouldn’t have. Carragher persisted, but Neville didn’t seem to be persuaded.

“He’s given him [to Chelsea] and said good luck to him, but it’s easy to keep these players. Managers don’t like to be accused of making a mistake with a player or whatever.” It was not what he would have expected him to do.

However, I’m tired of teams holding onto young players. It’s admirable that he wanted to play and leave Manchester. However, since Pep has given him a chance, I genuinely admire him. People may argue that he shouldn’t have sold the boy, but he needs to give the boy a chance because otherwise he wouldn’t have played football.”

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville in fierce Sky Sports argument over Pep Guardiola 'mistake'

Carragher and Neville were locked in debate

Neville explained his disagreement with Carragher after he had had a chance to conclude his argument. “We’ve literally eulogised over Pep Guardiola for years on this programme, you can never criticise him, but we are allowed to say ‘He got one wrong’ or ‘Manchester City have got one wrong’,” he stated.

“You don’t let one of your own go if they’re that good; if he joined that club at the age of ten, you know he has talent.” Now, raise your hands and say, “Look, to be fair, he’s shocked us, he’s surprised us,” and that’s fair enough if they’re wrong and they don’t think he’s that good.

They are incorrect in one of two ways. First, they haven’t given him much of a chance or made a path for him; second, they don’t think he’s that good. In either case, they are incorrect. You can’t say that Manchester City let go of a player who came up through the ranks at the age of eight, nine, or ten?”

But Carragher was far from finished. The 46-year-old said, “I think he would have surprised them,” before reiterating where he would have played. That was when host David Jones decided to end that portion of the debate and move on.

Palmer will have an opportunity to increase his goal total when Chelsea plays Brighton in the league on Wednesday. If rivals Spurs lose to Manchester City on Tuesday night, Mauricio Pochettino’s team will still be in the running for fifth place if they triumph at the Amex Stadium. However, sixth place is still within reach regardless of what transpires in North London.

Palmer stated following Chelsea’s victory over Nottingham Forest over the weekend, “We have two tough games and everything to fight for to get sixth place – which is our goal.” “Hopefully, we can make it there and return to Europe with Chelsea as a football team. We needed to win and get three points, so it was a significant victory. Gaining three points is fantastic after trailing.”

The European match will go to the very end if Chelsea triumphs on the south coast. On the final day of play, Chelsea will host Bournemouth while Spurs will travel to already relegated Sheffield United.


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