Pep Gaurdiola gives Ferran Torres new role as the star breaks Lionel Messi record after hattrick against Newcastle

The 21-year-old arrived as a winger from Valencia last summer but has been used in a central role at times this season.

And he took his tally to 13 for the season with a match-winning treble at St James’ Park, after which Guardiola could not hide his delight with his fellow Spaniard’s killer instinct.

‘This is his first season in England and his numbers are exceptional in terms of goals,’ said Guardiola. ‘I may have to think about playing him as a striker. He can be a No.9. He is an alternative, he is brilliant.

‘The movement he creates as a striker, the runs in behind. His last goal – the ball hits the crossbar and where does it come? He is there.

He has the smell, the striker’s nose, being intuitive to be there one second before the ball arrives. He has this talent and is a good finisher.’

Could this mean City are less inclined to go out and buy a striker to replace the outgoing Sergio Aguero this summer?

‘Maybe we buy a striker, maybe we don’t,’ said Guardiola. ‘But we have a guy who is young. I can use him left, right or as a striker.’

City twice came from behind to record a 12th straight away win, three days after being confirmed as champions.

And Guardiola said: ‘We made mistake because we are champions and the players were distracted a little bit, this is normal. But the spirit was absolutely there.’

Meanwhile, Newcastle boss Steve Bruce bemoaned the defensive lapses that cost his side what would have been a deserved result.

‘We give it a good go, but we had to be better than what we were defensively,’ he said.

‘The sloppiness of a couple of goals was disappointing. We were a bit naive. I was delighted with how they went about their work, but we weren’t quite good enough.

‘It’s about getting that balance right for us, because we know we’re a threat on the counter.’ 

Ferran Torres breaks Lionel Messi record.

Ferran Torres enjoyed an evening to remember as he netted his first Manchester City hat-trick against Newcastle United.

The Spaniard grabbed the headlines in a frenetic game at St James’ Park, with Pep Guardiola’s heavily-rotated side winning 4-3.

City fell behind to an Emil Kraft header, only for Joao Cancelo’s deflected striker to bring them level.

Torres then gave the visitors the lead with a sublime mid-air back flick, meeting a free-kick to phenomenal effect.

The 21-year-old then showed his poacher’s instinct with two goals inside the box, turning home Gabriel Jesus’ low cross and then turning in the rebound from Cancelo’s shot, which had cannoned off the post.

It means that Torres has now broken a record previously held by Lionel Messi, becoming the youngest player to score a hat-trick under Guardiola.

Barcelona legend Messi held the previous record after netting a treble against Tenerife in January 2010 at the age of 22.

The Spaniard also become City’s third-youngster Premier League hat-trick scorer behind Mario Balotelli (20yrs, 138 days) and Raheem Sterling (20 yrs, 313 days).

It is the second time that Torres has netted a hat-trick this season, having scored three for Spain during their 6-0 demolition of Germany last November, also whilst playing in a central role.

Torres was preferred down the middle to Jesus for large portions of the match, with the Brazilian often being forced to offer width from the right-wing.