Ruben Dias claims he asks Phil Foden to go easy on him in training at Manchester City.
Foden has produced a number of outstanding displays for City in recent weeks, most notably in both legs of their memorable Champions League quarter-final victory over Borussia Dortmund.
The 20-year-old midfielder was again impressive as City came from behind to win at Aston Villa on Wednesday and move within eight points of reclaiming the Premier League title.
Defender Dias said: “He is a special talent. He is always driven and you never see him going down like, ‘This isn’t going well for me’ or ‘I have this problem or that problem’.
“He knows very well what he is going for and when you have a player with this quality and with this mindset, it is very difficult not to be successful.
“He knows, against me, he needs to go slow!”
Dias has also been hugely influential in City’s outstanding campaign. The Portugal international has not only solved the centre-back problem Pep Guardiola’s side had last season but instilled greater confidence in the rest of the team.
That has laid the foundation for a challenge that, until as late in the season as last week, was focused on four trophies.
To be spoken of in those terms is a tremendous privilege for meRuben Dias
A treble still remains possible – the first leg of which could be completed in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Tottenham – and for the transformational effect Dias has had on the side, he is being tipped as a contender for player of the year.
The 23-year-old said: “The nominations are not in yet but to be spoken of in those terms is a tremendous privilege for me.
“It is something that makes me feel good, makes me feel that my work is being well done but, essentially, what it tells me is that the team is having success.
“For me to be on that shortlist, especially as a defender, it can only mean the team won and had success. That, for me, is the biggest thing.
“If you said to me that ‘in your first year in the Premier League you can win the player of the year’, it would be amazing.
“But what I really want in my first year is to win the Premier League. That would be my biggest achievement.”