Manchester City’s squad for the Champions League defense consists of only 21 players, with a notable omission being the USA international goalkeeper, Zack Steffen. The 25-year-old has been frozen out in favor of the 38-year-old veteran, Scott Carson.
With the knockout stages of the Champions League fast approaching, Manchester City’s decision to exclude Steffen from their squad has raised eyebrows. The American shot-stopper has played a crucial role in City’s domestic cup competitions this season, but it seems he will have to watch from the sidelines as his team competes in Europe’s premier club competition.
Steffen, who joined City from Columbus Crew in 2019, has made 12 appearances for the club so far this season. However, his exclusion from the Champions League squad suggests that manager Pep Guardiola sees Carson as a more reliable backup option to Ederson.
Carson, who joined City on loan from Derby County in 2019, has yet to make an appearance for the club. Despite his lack of game time, Guardiola has shown faith in the experienced goalkeeper, including him in the Champions League squad ahead of Steffen.
The decision to favor Carson over Steffen could be seen as a surprising move by Guardiola. Steffen has proven himself to be a capable goalkeeper, and his performances in the domestic cup competitions have been commendable. However, Guardiola seems to value Carson’s experience and reliability, especially in high-pressure European matches.
Manchester City will face Borussia Monchengladbach in the Round of 16 of the Champions League. With the absence of Steffen, the responsibility of providing backup to Ederson falls solely on Carson’s shoulders. It remains to be seen whether Guardiola’s decision will pay off or if Steffen’s absence will be felt in the crucial stages of the competition.
Despite the omission, Steffen will continue to train with the Manchester City squad and be available for domestic matches. However, it is clear that his immediate future lies away from the European stage.
As Manchester City aims to secure their first-ever Champions League title, the decision to freeze out Steffen in favor of Carson highlights the trust and confidence Guardiola has in the veteran goalkeeper. Only time will tell if this decision proves to be a masterstroke or a missed opportunity for the Premier League leaders.