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Manchester City: Riyad Mahrez has not earned starting place in front of Bernardo Silva, says Tony Cascarino

Manchester City: Riyad Mahrez has not earned starting place in front of Bernardo Silva, says Tony Cascarino

Former footballer Tony Cascarino believes that Riyad Mahrez has not ‘earned the right’ to assume a position in Manchester City’s starting lineup in place of Bernardo Silva.

Silva has only played 40 minutes across City’s last two Premier League games, coming off the bench in the win over Everton and being afforded half an hour in the shock 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves.

Pep Guardiola’s squad selection came in for criticism from a dumbfounded Cascarino, who went on to suggest the gap between them and league leaders Liverpool will only extend after lambasting the decision to bench Silva last weekend – saying Mahrez should be sacrificed.

He told TalkSPORT: “What’s happened? Why was Bernardo Silva sub last week against Wolves? Why? He was phenomenal last year!

“I know Mahrez has come in and done okay, but he hasn’t earned the right to take Bernardo Silva’s place in the team.”

Despite having four goals to his name this season, Silva has found himself in and out of the City team – making just four starts in the league campaign so far.

However, the same can be said for Mahrez – who has started just five games – though he has featured from the beginning in each of the last three for the champions.

But looking at their respective performances, it seems as if their inclusion in the starting lineup is down to a strict selection policy from Guardiola rather than being related to their individual accomplishments.

Mahrez notched three assists on the opening day as City swept West Ham United aside, and started the following two matches on the substitutes’ bench.

Silva, meanwhile, has not started since scoring a hat-trick in the 8-0 demolition of Watford – which is further evidence that there is an emphasis on rotation rather than picking the form players at the Etihad Stadium.

So while Cascarino can be justifiably perplexed at Silva’s omission, to suggest that Mahrez – who started alongside the Portuguese in the Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb – has replaced Bernardo Silva is perhaps wide of the mark, as both have fallen victim to what looks to be a selection policy that hasn’t totally paid off for the reigning champions.

Can Manchester City still win the title?

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Yes

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City fans, should Bernardo Silva be starting? And if so, should that be in place of Mahrez? Join the discussion by commenting below!

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