Mike Summerbee believes Pep Guardiola has transformed football in England and hopes he can stay at Manchester City “forever”.
Summerbee, one of the stars of the City side that won the First Division in 1968, believes the club could be at the start of a golden dynasty following their latest, Guardiola-inspired title success.
Guardiola’s team won the Premier League with a record-equalling five games to spare last month and celebrations will continue as they are presented with the trophy after Sunday’s game against Huddersfield at the Etihad Stadium.
“I think you’re looking at an era,” said Summerbee, 75. “He’s created something that you know is long-standing. I think that they can go from here. I think they’ll get even better.
“I think they’ve got a big chance (of winning back-to-back titles). I’m getting old but I hope to be around to see a few more trophies at this club.
“Pep has a certain way. I watch them train occasionally and I think he has revolutionised football in this country. I’d like to see him stay forever.”
Summerbee can see similarities between Guardiola and Malcolm Allison, the forward-thinking coach who, alongside manager Joe Mercer, masterminded the 1968 success. He feels the Spaniard, however, has taken things to a new level.
He said: “We were physically a very, very strong side. Malcolm was way beyond his time.
“In our day, you probably had four players who were really top-notch skilful players who could open the game up.
“But nowadays everyone from the goalkeeper to the full-backs, to two wing-halves, can all play, all can control and pass the ball. It’s rare you see a misplaced pass.
“They play in a small area where you have to think on your feet. They do that until they see a gap, and then it’s like opening the lock on a safe. Every player is so skilful.
“But conditions today suit the way it’s played. You cannot compare the side I played in with the side playing now – it’s impossible.”
City will be in party mood on Sunday with the trophy presentation coinciding with events to mark the 50th anniversary of the success of Summerbee’s team.
Summerbee will play his part as he and other revered figures from the club form a guard of honour to greet the current team onto the field.
“It’s a great honour and privilege to be able to do it,” Summerbee said.