Last season, Manchester City dominated English and European football. They were a squad of finely tuned athletes, average age 26. But then, there was the other guy: their 3rd choice goalkeeper.

He’s 37, hair going grey. Beard too. He’s got a gap-toothed grin, and just a hint of a paunch. Across the entire season he played a grand total of 0 (yes, zero) minutes. In the last four years he's played just one league game.

But instead of putting him to out to pasture, Man City offered Scott Carson a contract extension.

Umm. Ok. Why?

City’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, says Carson is a real asset.

He’s a critical part of the ‘goalkeepers union’, a team within the team. A goalkeeper has the highest pressure - and loneliest - role on the pitch.

Carson is also a local cult hero for the fans to get behind. And he's the in-house hype man - from playing practical jokes to providing valuable guidance to the younger players.

Oh, and Scott Carson is the only member of City’s squad - and one of only 24 players in the world - to have won the UEFA Champions League with two different clubs.

In a world where so much focus is put on the singular hero, the small group of elite all-stars, on ‘up or out’ cultures that turf the rest… well, perhaps there’s another way to view it.

Perhaps there are transferrable skills hidden in plain sight; potential that’s left untapped. Critical elements that don’t fit in a spreadsheet.

Besides, Man City manager Pep Guardiola isn’t wrong too often.

Last season notched up Scott Carson’s 10th major trophy - and Guardiola’s 36th.

This season they're on course for a couple more.

The (secret) secret of Manchester City's success

Why every team needs goalkeeper #3

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