BBC pundit Garth Crooks has suggested that Manchester City have a player who is even more important than Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland.

City went back top of the Premier League table on Saturday evening after beating West Ham United 3-1 at the London Stadium.

Jeremy Doku, Bernardo Silva and Erling Haaland were all on target for the visitors, after James Ward-Prowse had opened the scoring for the Hammers.

Ederson made a couple of really important saves to keep City in the game at 1-1.

The Brazilian’s contributions ultimately allowed City to take three points.

But there is another player that caught the eye of Crooks on Saturday…

Garth Crooks makes big claim about Rodri after his performance for Man City against West Ham

It was yet another fantastic performance from Rodri on Saturday.

Fresh from absolutely dominating Cyprus with Spain, the 27-year-old was at his very best against the Hammers, and completely controlled the game as he usually does.

West Ham United v Manchester City - Premier League
Photo by Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images

He completed and incredible 113/116 passes (97% accuracy) which was easily the most of any player (via Sofascore). And he also had 130 touches which was again the most of any player in the match. For context, the player with the second most was Kyle Walker with 106.

Crooks said of Rodri (BBC Sport): “Arguably the most important member of City’s team, Rodri is a permanent fixture in Pep Guardiola’s set-up – venturing forward and being more creative with every game.

“During the second half, West Ham hardly saw the ball as Rodri pulled the strings and City controlled the match.

“They have taken maximum points from five games and their past four haven’t included Kevin de Bruyne – no-one has even mentioned him, never mind missed him.

“At this rate, City can take their time with the injured De Bruyne and wait until he’s fully fit before considering his return.”

Rodri is just incredible, and Crooks might be right

113/116 passes completed in a Premier League game against a good side is just phenomenal from Rodri.

Yes City always have most of the ball, but that is truly remarkable ball retention from the Spaniard.

Both Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland are world-class players, and perhaps even the very best in world football at what they do in their positions.

Manchester City FC v FC Internazionale Milano - UEFA Champions League Final 2022/23
Photo by Brendan Moran – Sportsfile/UEFA via Getty Images

But Crooks may be right when he says Rodri could be City’s most important player.

City are able to dominate games because he is so good in midfielder.

He totally commands the space, keeps the ball moving, and is even now contributing in the final third as well as the first two thirds.

Quite simply, what a player.

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