Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford can take the Premier League by storm and reach the very top, according to his England Under-21 coach Joleon Lescott.

Trafford is in line for a top-flight debut on Friday against old club Manchester City, who allowed him to make the move to Turf Moor last month.

While Trafford is only 20 and has never played higher than Sky Bet League One, he starred for England during the summer to earn them European Under-21 Championship glory with a stunning stoppage-time penalty-kick save to deny Abel Ruiz in the 1-0 win over Spain.

Lescott was part of Lee Carsley’s staff for the tournament and knows the young goalkeeper from his time as loan manager at City.

TNT Sports pundit Lescott said: “James is ready for the Premier League. He is top, he is top with temperament, quality.

“I think everyone sees the quality but his temperament is he loves it, but nothing fazes him. He is not bothered by anything.

“He said it in his interview after the (Spain) game, that he knew he would save a penalty and I genuinely believe him. In no arrogant way at all, I think he is just so comfortable with his quality. He works extremely hard and is so aware of what it will take to have a top career.

“I have no doubt he will reach the very top of the game.

“Potentially he ends up back there (at Man City). But James will go on to have an exceptional career.”


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Asked if Trafford could make his senior debut for England soon if he impresses for Vincent Kompany’s new boys, Lescott added: “Yeah, 100 per cent. Whatever he achieves, touch wood barring any unfortunate injuries, will not surprise me.

“I spoke to Vinny before they acquired him and I told him I’ve not seen a keeper that composed at that age, so yeah he’s very good.”

Former City defender Lescott is equally enthusiastic about how old team-mate Kompany will fare during his maiden campaign in the Premier League.

Kompany and Burnley took the Championship by storm last season, but they are odds-on to return back to the second tier ahead of Friday’s opener.

“Vinny will be prepared and nothing Vinny does will surprise me,” Lescott insisted.

“He will not leave any stone unturned. I don’t think it’ll be easy, but Vincent is a very impressive coach, a very impressive man, and a very fast learner.

“I’m sure he’ll recognise what allows Burnley to stay in the league and try to do that to the best of his capabilities.”

The fixture gods have not been kind to Burnley but while it does not get much tougher than hosting the Premier League champions, Lescott feels Pep Guardiola’s side could struggle early on after the high of clinching the treble with a first Champions League title in June.

Lescott admitted: “I think the fact that people are just assuming they can do that again, the quadruple and treble, I think it slightly underestimates what they’ve achieved and how hard that is.

“That could potentially produce a slower start to the season and (other) teams are raring to go

“I’m sure they’re the team to beat and everybody recognises that, but it can take a toll what they’ve achieved.”

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Retiring playmaker David Silva should be remembered as one of the best players to grace the Premier League, according to his former Manchester City team-mate Joleon Lescott.

Real Sociedad midfielder Silva announced his retirement at the age of 37 last Thursday, having suffered a serious knee injury in pre-season training.

Prior to joining La Real in 2020, Silva won four Premier League titles and seven domestic cups during a memorable spell at the Etihad Stadium, where he has since been honoured with a statue. 

Silva – who also won the 2010 World Cup and two European Championship titles with Spain – led all Premier League players for assists (89) and chances created (768) during the decade between 2010 and 2020.

Having played alongside Silva between 2010 and 2014, former City defender Lescott believes Silva deserves to be seen as a Premier League great. 

"When he joined he was obviously a World Cup winner and a Euros winner, and he turned out to be an iconic Premier League player, one of the best to ever grace the Premier League," Lescott told Stats Perform.

"I think we all are aware of what his qualities were on the pitch, but what a guy. What a human being. My biggest compliment to David is that he's equally as good a person as he is a player."

City have lost two further club icons during the current transfer window, with Ilkay Gundogan joining Barcelona on a free transfer and Riyad Mahrez signing for Saudi side Al Ahli in a £30million deal.

Lescott believes the duo will be missed by Pep Guardiola's treble winners, adding: "The qualities they'll bring to their new teams are obvious. 

"They have superior technical ability. Ilkay is recognised as one of the best leaders in the squad. Riyad is obviously one of the most skilful. 

"They'll bring that to their new teams but they'll be sorely missed, not just because of their ability on the pitch, but [because of] what they brought to the dressing room and what they were to City's fanbase."

Having delivered the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup trophies last term, Guardiola is looking to lead City to a fourth successive top-flight title this season.

Asked about Guardiola's impact on English football, Lescott said: "He's obviously changed the game, he's revolutionised different positions, the way we look at it and the way we view it.

"Every country he's managed in, I think they've tried to adapt throughout the leagues, and that's the biggest compliment for Pep. 

"Now in England there are multiple teams in multiple leagues that want to play the way they see Man City play."

Joleon Lescott warned that Erling Haaland cannot be expected to break even more records after his remarkable debut season in England.

Haaland arrived in the Premier League in style last term, scoring 36 goals - a competition record for a 38-game season.

The Manchester City star scored a further 16 goals in other competitions, finishing on a remarkable 52 for the campaign.

But former City defender Lescott does not believe it can be expected that the 23-year-old continues setting records.

"We can't expect him to continue to break a record every year. It'd be difficult to do that," Lescott said to Stats Perform.

"I think if he maintains the level that he set, then he's going to be an iconic player for the Premier League, for Manchester City.

"Defenders will have to adapt to what he does and what he's done because if they didn't then he would continue to score the goals that he has.

"So I'm sure there will be different approaches and different solutions for [playing against] Erling this season."

Haaland spearheaded City's charge to a treble last season, and Lescott sees his old team as being the very best in the world as it stands.

"They're the best team in Europe for sure," he said.

"Obviously, with the Super Cup and hopefully the Club World Cup to come soon, we can have that honour of being recognised as the best team in the world, but you have to win the honours in order to do that."

City ultimately won the Premier League last term by five points, but they were pushed hard by Arsenal, who led the top flight for much of the season.

And Lescott feels there will be plenty of challengers to their crown in the coming campaign.

"Obviously, Arsenal were there or thereabouts last season. So I anticipate that challenge," he said.

"Liverpool again, they've been on par to a certain extent with Manchester City over the last few seasons. Manchester United have recruited new players, so I'm sure every team going into the start of the season believes they can win."

After facing Arsenal in the Community Shield on Sunday, City play Burnley in their opening Premier League fixture, before taking on Europa League winners Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup.

Sergio Aguero has provided a glowing endorsement for Argentina compatriot Julian Alvarez after his move to Manchester City.

That is the message from former City and England defender Joleon Lescott, who expects Alvarez to become a key figure for Pep Guardiola's side in the Premier League in the coming years.

Alvarez signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with the Premier League champions from River Plate in a deal worth a reported £14million ($18.8m) back in January, before being loaned back to his former side.

The 22-year-old initially caught City's eye after 20 goals and 12 assists in 35 games in the Argentine Primera Division last year, with those 32 direct goal involvements at least six more than any other player in 2021.

He added another 11 goals in 15 league appearances in 2022 and, while it remains unclear whether Alvarez will be loaned out again, Lescott revealed the forward has the backing of City great Aguero.

"He's definitely got the quality [to perform in the Premier League]," Lescott told City's official website.

"I've seen little bits, but I've also spoken to Sergio about him briefly and he said he was a top talent. He was excited for him, which was good, so that'll be a high expectation.

"Sergio said he will score goals. He can also excite fans, Sergio said possibly more than him, not in terms of scoring but in terms of the way he plays.

"He wants to dribble a little bit more than what Sergio did, who was more 'let me score', which was great for us but a different mindset.

"But with the likes of [Gabriel] Jesus leaving, you're not going to do that if you're not replacing him with an exceptional talent as well. I'm excited for him and hopefully he gets opportunities to score."

Alvarez will provide able competition to fellow arrival Erling Haaland should the Argentine stay at the Etihad Stadium for the season.

Haaland scored 86 goals in 89 appearances during his two-and-a-half-year spell at Borussia Dortmund, a tally bettered by only Robert Lewandowski (123 in 108 games) and Kylian Mbappe (93 in 111 games) of players from Europe's top five leagues during that period.

Yet with competition aplenty within Guardiola's squad, Lescott encouraged Alvarez to seize his pre-season opportunities as opposed to settling for a back-up role behind Haaland.

"I'm sure Julian has come in and wants to play and not just come to watch Erling Haaland score goals and perform," he added.

"There's an opportunity for him to play and I'm sure he's going to back himself to do that and do well. The age of the squad is good, it helps keep everyone competitive.

"The younger lads from the City academy as well will respect what it is. They'll understand that yes, they need to perform, yes they need to train well and get themselves ready for whatever season they have."

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