EDERSON MORAES has revealed the secrets behind his nifty footwork and mighty kick.
Pep Guardiola has gone through Joe Hart, Claudio Bravo and Willy Caballero in his bid to find the perfect No 1 for Manchester City.
And now the Etihad chief believes he has found the ideal long-term solution in £34.9million Brazil ace Ederson.
The ex-Benfica keeper’s distribution has been a key feature of City’s preparations for the new season — particularly his jaw-dropping punts upfield.
Ederson, in his first interview with an English newspaper, says he learned to use his feet so effectively while playing as a left-back in junior matches and on the streets of Sao Paulo.
It was only when he was ten that he decided he hated all the running involved as a defender and thought goalkeeping might suit him better.
Ederson, 24 today, said: “I have always been skilful with my feet.
“When I started playing football, I started as a left-defender.
“Maybe I wasn’t very talented in that position but I knew that something good could come out of it.
“I got some skills with my feet and that helped me a lot later on. Those qualities have helped me a lot in my career.”
And what about that huge kick, though, which became such a feature of his game in Portugal? During pre-season against Tottenham in Nashville, he launched one that landed right on the end of Sergio Aguero’s toe halfway inside the opposition half.
While the Argentinian hero was surprised, he was not half as shocked as the Spurs defenders.
Ederson added: “It’s because I didn’t like running much back then.
“When I was nine or ten, I had a chat with my coach and I asked if I could play in goal. I started playing as a goalkeeper and it was love at first sight. Only a goalkeeper knows how it is.
“Whether I use the long kick all depends on the moment, only at certain stages of the game.”
Boss Guardiola is known for trying players out of position and only has Benjamin Mendy as a recognised left-back.
So could Ederson still fill in there if needed?
He laughed: “Maybe I could play there!”
This time last year, City were in the process of signing Bravo from Barcelona to take the place of Hart.
It turned into something of a sideshow throughout last season, with the Chilean struggling right from his debut.
Stepping into the shoes of the England keeper and a club legend such as Hart — who spent nine years at City — is never going to be easy.
But Ederson has set his sights on becoming the long-term solution for City.
He said: “Of course I’d like to do that. I hope I can stay here a long time and win lots of trophies.
“I spent some time training with Joe, he seems to be a great person, not only a great goalkeeper.
“He’s a goalkeeper with a nice history here at Manchester City for all the time he spent here. I wish him all the luck at West Ham.
“Last season, Claudio got some criticism but I think the summer with the national team helped him a lot because he did a great performance in the tournament.
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“He will be a great asset to help us too. It was good for him coming off the back of a season that wasn’t so easy.”
Now Bravo is going to have some big competition for the shirt.
The fee paid by City this summer for Ederson raised plenty of eyebrows, with the £34.9m making him the most expensive keeper in Premier League history.
Only Gianluigi Buffon of Juventus has cost more in world football — £32.6m was worth more in euros back in 2001 — but Ederson will take it in his stride.
Given the price tag and the problems encountered by Bravo, the new boy is certain to be under scrutiny.
But he said: “The price of my transfer doesn’t matter much to me.
“If it was £10m, £20m or £30m. For me it doesn’t matter.
“Friends have said to me: ‘How does it feel to be the second-most expensive keeper in history?’ I’m ready for that. It’s not going to affect my concentration.
“I’m calm and ready to do a great job here at Manchester City.”