Rodri is making the most of lockdown, Manchester City midfielder Rodri is using the time to study for his university degree

The 23-year-old returned to Spain to be with his family when football was shut down by the Covid-19 outbreak, staying in touch with the Premier League champions and maintaining his fitness.

But the Spain international, who lived in student accommodation when he was breaking into the game with Villarreal, has also used the enforced break to continue his work on a business administration and management degree.

“It’s a very difficult situation for everyone, not only in Spain, but around the whole world. We don’t know exactly what’s going on, how many people are infected, nobody knows what’s going to happen next,” Rodri said.

“We all have someone close, a friend or a family member, who has been touched somehow by the coronavirus, so it’s not easy. We try to spend our time in the best way possible.

“I used the time to do homework from my university degree, as there are exams in a few days’ time. On top of that, obviously, I have been training and keeping fit.

“I’m sure it’s going to be helpful in the future one way or another. You never know. When I finish my career as a player I’d like to stay in contact with the sports world.”

Players currently abroad could return to England soon with hopes that the season could be restarted next month. Rodri had made a strong start to life at he Etihad Stadium after joining for a club-record fee of €70 million (£63m/$79m) from Atletico Madrid in the summer, scoring in the Carabao Cup win at Wembley in March.

City boss Pep Guardiola had identified him as his top target to play as deep-lying midfielder, with comparisons drawn with Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets, and Rodri says the Catalan has helped to develop his game.

“To me, he is the best coach in the world, his success speaks for itself,” he said. “It helps me a lot that he played in the same position as me. It’s not easy for me as a young player, coming from La Liga, to fit in the Premier League with such competition, [where it’s] so strong physically, with great teams, but it has been an amazing experience this first season.

“I have learnt a lot and I have enjoyed it because we have won two trophies so far [Community Shield and Carabao Cup] and we are still able to win two more, the FA Cup and the Champions League.

“I try to learn every day from him. He has helped me a lot, especially tactically. It’s been the first time I played alone as a holding midfielder, so I have to adapt to the new situation. I’m happy because I fit very well with the team and the club. I feel I’m growing every day.”

Rodri was initially set for a battle for a starting place with City legend Fernandinho. But the Brazilian has spent the majority of the season as a centre back following the long-term injury to Aymeric Laporte, and the Spaniard revealed his team-mate has given him some tips about life in the Premier League.

“He is now playing more often as a centre-back so that he can have a bigger picture of the game. He has helped me a lot from the back, where to find the spaces, etc,” Rodri added.

“What I learnt the most from him is the experience he has. He’s 35-years-old, he has been at the club for seven seasons now, so I listen to him a lot and try to learn a lot from him.”

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