Graeme Souness says he is “mystified” by Sergio Aguero’s lack of game time at Manchester City.
Former Liverpool midfielder Souness added that he “would not be a happy bunny” if he was in Aguero ‘s position.
Aguero has been hampered by injury and fitness issues this season, and had to settle for a place on the bench once again in Wednesday evening’s Premier League clash with Southampton.
Ahead of the Southampton game, Aguero – the club’s all-time leading scorer with 256 goals – had played only 202 minutes of Premier League football this term.
He was an unused substitute in Sunday’s 2-0 derby defeat to Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.
“I thought without Aguero, they’d find it difficult in the tighter games but when you look at John Stones, sharing goals around their midfield…” Souness told Sky Sports.
“(Gabriel) Jesus, I think he’s a really good squad player, but you’re talking about a totally different player with Aguero – he is the ultimate fox in the box.
“I’m slightly mystified. I’m not sure about the relationship the manager and the player have, I have no knowledge of anything.
“But I look at the weekend for example – you’re 2-0 down at home, you bring on a right-back (Kyle Walker) instead of him, the top scorer, the club’s top scorer.
“Then 10 minutes later, you bring on a 20-year-old (Phil) Foden instead of the top scorer at the football club.
“What is there not to like about him? Maybe he doesn’t do enough of the hard yards? I think when Pep arrived at the club, that was something he had to persuade him to do, I think he did that to the best of his ability.
“He’s got to be knocking on the manager’s door – forget about everything else – at the weekend he’s got to be knocking on the manager’s door.
“I’m not sure if there’s any relationship between them but I know if I was Aguero, I would not be a happy bunny.”
Aguero’s current contract expires at the end of this season, with Guardiola saying that no decision would be made on his future until the campaign is finished.
Former City defender Joleon Lescott says Aguero will be difficult to replace when he does leave the club.
“I think the fact that his contract expires in the summer and there’s been no talk of negotiation… he’ll be disappointed,” said Lescott. “For me, he’s the guy that kind of created it all.
“I know he wasn’t the first person to arrive but he’s certainly the most important and in my eyes, he’ll be the hardest to replace.
“We’ve seen Yaya (Toure) and David Silva leave and the club still maintained that, but there are moments in game where you just need a selfish mindset and someone who wants to score – doesn’t necessarily want to play that well, but the goals are that important to him and he has that mindset of a selfish striker that you can’t necessarily buy.
“You can buy the talent and the technique but the mindset is different.”