LONDON • Teenage Manchester City striker Liam Delap has admitted that being named in the starting line-up for their League Cup third-round clash with Bournemouth caught him off guard, but it will “take weeks” before he stops smiling.
His father, former Stoke stalwart Rory, was just as proud after seeing him mark his senior City debut with a goal.
Liam scored the opener for Pep Guardiola’s side in the 2-1 win at the Etihad, running on to Phil Foden’s through ball before firing past Cherries goalkeeper Mark Travers.
Sam Surridge equalised for the second-tier English side, but Foden popped up with the winner 15 minutes from time as the Cup holders booked a fourth-round clash at fellow English Premier League side Burnley next week.
With Guardiola later revealing that City have only 13 fit players at the moment, Liam is likely to have more chances to impress, even though he is still pinching himself.
“It was a bit of a shock to be put in, but I just worked my hardest,” he told the BBC. “I was buzzing to get the call-up and, to top it with a goal, I can’t ask for much more.
“I need to keep working hard in training and look to take every opportunity I get.”
On the young prospect, Guardiola said: “With the problems we have up front (Sergio Aguero is out for at least two months), he will stay with us. We will use him.
“At 17, Liam is a different striker to what we have in terms of physicality. We see in training how good a finisher he is. Now is the time to be calm and keep working. We are delighted with his performance.”
Former midfielder Rory was far more known for his long throw-ins and bruising style of play, so he is delighted to see his son’s professional career take off.
Delap Sr, 44, told The Sun: “I didn’t have his pace or power, and it took me a few more chances to put the ball in the back of the net.
“He’s enjoying it and that’s all I’m bothered about… he’s a good lad and, if he keeps his head down and works hard, he’ll have a chance.”
Liam is also not modelling his game after his dad though, claiming that “I’ve always looked up to Cristiano Ronaldo”.
Elsewhere, Premier League champions Liverpool thrashed third-tier Lincoln City 7-2 to set up a fourth-round meeting with Arsenal next week, their second meeting at Anfield in four days.