Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott lavished praise on rival centre-back Matija Nastasic, insisting there is no bad blood between the two.
Serbian Nastasic, 20, has taken over from Lescott at the heart of City’s defence this season, prompting the England international to publicly consider his future.
But Lescott – restored to the starting line-up on Saturday while Nastasic was rested – believes the Serb fully deserves his place in the team.
“He plays beyond his years and if he was English he would have had a lot more recognition,” he told The Telegraph.
“I have no gripe with him. You don’t begrudge someone who comes in and does well.”
Despite the plaudits earned by the teenager in his debut season, including comparisons to compatriot Nemanja Vidic, Nastasic was overlooked for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
Tottenham superstar Gareth Bale, who also scooped the main award, was voted to the accolade by his fellow professionals with Nastasic not even making the six-man shortlist.
And England international Lescott – who was unable to vote for his own team mate – believes it was an oversight by those who could vote.
“It was a bit harsh he was not nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year,” he said.
“He’s not a glamorous sort of player who comes out with the ball. He just does his job exceptionally well.”
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