Patrick Vieira knows a thing or two about bossing the midfield and he believes Rodri is the ‘best in the world’ at doing it right now.

Fresh from watching City win Four-in-a-Row, Vieira – who played for title rivals City and Arsenal – paid tribute to Rodri, who reached an unbeaten half-century of Premier League games following City’s triumphant victory over West Ham.

Vieira made his name as an enforcer in the central ground, winning four Premier Leagues, five FA Cups – one with City - three Community Shields, five Serie A, one Supercoppa Italiana as well as the World Cup and European Championships with France during an illustrious playing career.

Now, as a manager, he finds himself drawn to Rodri when watching the Premier League and says he preaches about the Spaniard’s brilliance to the youth players at current club, Strasbourg.

“He is my favourite player,” said Vieira.

“He is strong. He is clever. He is smart. He is a team player. He is all about the team – he sacrifices himself for the team.

“Technically I love watching him play. I always use him as a reference for the young players that I have in Strasbourg.

“As a holding midfielder, he’s doing everything right.

“I like his humility. I like his work ethic. I like his simplicity.

“For me he is the best holding midfielder in the world at the moment.”

The role of holding midfielder can often get overlooked in football with the spotlight shining on the flair players in the final third.

But, importantly, Vieira believes that Rodri – who does score his fair share of important goals - will be rated and respected highly by his teammates in the dressing room and by his manager Pep Guardiola.

“I remember once I was working for Sky Sports, it was City v Arsenal at the Etihad and Pep came out. I said to Pep ‘what do you think of Rodri’ and asked whether he is the first name on the teamsheet when he’s giving the starting XI.

“The game we have today, the highlights always go to the players who score the goals and who make the assists. 

“But the guys who make the tackles and who do the pass before the decisive pass? The manager knows how important this is and how important this position is.

“So for me when you see the manager and the teammates talking about Rodri, this is what makes him happy I think.

“When you have the respect of your manager and your teammates, this is more important than what the pundits or the people think.”

Check out more from Patrick Vieira in the latest edition of our ‘Once a Blue’ feature series, which you can read on and our official app from 17:00 (UK) this Friday.