Zack Steffen has seen ample time in cup competitions for Manchester City this season and will get his biggest opportunity yet on Saturday afternoon.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola confirmed Friday that Steffen will start for the current league leaders in the first of two FA Cup Semifinals this weekend at Wembley Stadium. The Citizens will face off with last season’s finalists Chelsea on Saturday while Sunday’s encounter pits Leicester City vs. Southampton.
“Always, I have done this,” said Guardiola when asked about his decision to start Steffen. “Maybe tomorrow we will win or lose, I don’t know, but if Zack doesn’t play, I would lose the team.
“He is the keeper for the US national team. When he plays, he plays well. He trains good and he more than deserves to play. I am happy to give him the chance. He has the personality and composure.
“No keeper in the world is like Eddie. No keeper in the world has that quality with feet, short and long. I don’t want Zack to do what Eddie does. I want him to save the balls, I want us to concede as few chances as possible. We trust him a lot.”
Steffen has played in 10 matches in all competitions this season, his first full campaign with Manchester City. The 26-year-old has only conceded five goals in his 10 outings, featuring in the UEFA Champions League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, and Premier League.
Saturday he will go up against international teammate Christian Pulisic, who is coming off a Man of the Match performance midweek despite Chelsea’s 1-0 second leg UCL loss to FC Porto. Pulisic and the Blues advanced to the UCL semifinals, as did Man City this week, and the American winger will be keen to spoil his colleague’s afternoon in London.
Manchester City’s dreams of winning the quadruple remains well in tact, with the club already in the EFL Cup Final later this month vs. Tottenham and 11 points clear of rivals Manchester United in the league standings. Should Steffen put in a strong outing on Saturday, it could set him up nicely to start next weekend at Wembley once again.