Is it actually time for Dream Team managers to ditch out-of-sorts Joao Cancelo?

JUST the thought alone should send a shiver up the spine of any self-respecting Dream Team manager.

But there’s no room for sentimentality in this game and so the question must be asked.

Is it really time to ditch Joao Cancelo (£6.5m)?

At pretty much any other time in the last three years this blasphemous question could be dismissed as the ramblings of a lunatic.

The Portuguese full-back has been one of the absolute best Dream Team assets in recent times, finishing among the top two defenders in each of the last two campaigns.


Form is temporary, class is permanentCredit: getty

His mountainous points tallies have reflected what pundits and fans have observed – he has been instrumental for Manchester City, arguably their next-most important player after Kevin De Bruyne (£7.8m) since 2020.

A defender only in theory, Cancelo spends most of his time operating in midfield areas or helping to create overloads out wide.

His technical ability, particularly his control in tight spaces and his range of passing, has often been the reason Pep Guardiola’s side have unlocked stubborn defences and it’s the regularity of his attacking contributions on top of plentiful clean sheets that has made him an elite Dream Team asset.

At least that’s been the story to date.

In fact it was all going swimmingly during the first third of the current season as well.

The 28-year-old racked up 97 points by the end of Game Week 12, justifying his lofty price tag.

But it’s all gone pear shaped of late.

Cancelo has been used sparingly since returning from the World Cup


Cancelo has been used sparingly since returning from the World Cup

Cancelo was sent off against Fulham at the start of November and he incurred minus two points in his first game back from suspension to knock his total down to 92.

And that’s how he left things when he jetted off to Qatar to represent Portugal at the World Cup.

Truth be told, Cancelo looked out of sorts at the tournament and Fernando Santos dropped him from the starting line-up by the knockout stages.

He’s been used sparingly by Guardiola since the resumption of the domestic season too – he came off the bench midway through the second half against Leeds before being withdrawn at half-time at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.

Having been given just 67 minutes across City’s last four fixtures, Cancelo could be considered out of favour and with a fresh batch of transfers to use, 22.1% of Dream Team bosses will seriously be thinking about finding a replacement.

A rising star


A rising star

One possible candidate is Rico Lewis (£2.7m), the 18-year-old new fan favourite at the Etihad.

Guardiola spoke glowingly of the teenage right-back again following City’s 1-0 win over Chelsea in west London – Lewis’ introduction alongside Manuel Akanji (£3.9m), Jack Grealish (£3.9m) and Riyad Mahrez (£5.2m) helped swing the game in the visitors’ favour.

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The teenage defender costs £3.8m less than Cancelo which would allow for significant upgrades elsewhere.

As the old saying goes: form is temporary, class is permanent – Cancelo will come again but for now it may be best to look elsewhere for healthy returns.

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