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Water-carrier Guardiola hails influence of Koeman

Pep Guardiola is looking forward to being reacquainted with Ronald Koeman on Saturday - and admits he was once the water carrier for the Everton boss.

Guardiola and Koeman were team-mates at Barcelona in the early 1990s with the Manchester City manager the impressionable youngster and Koeman the experienced Netherlands international.

They are now established managers with glittering CVs - Guardiola in particular - but the Spaniard has not forgotten the influence former room-mate Koeman had on his early career.

Speaking ahead of City's clash with Everton on Saturday, he said: "When Ronald needed water, he'd wake up to water from me.

"I was younger so I looked up to him. He was not just a room-mate, we spent a lot of time together and he was so generous. Not just on the pitch but off, I learned a lot from looking at him."

Koeman was a stylish centre-half, a vital component in the way then Barca coach Johan Cruyff - a huge influence in Guardiola's career - set up his side.

Guardiola added: "He was one of the first central defenders with the quality not just to defend.

"Cruyff bought him to teach us why we needed a central defender like Ronald. He was one of the few guys who I never saw miss an important game. He always played good in the big games."