Sport Soccer

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Pep Guardiola expecting big things from Phil Foden after World Cup success

Phil Foden is yet to make his senior bow for Manchester City
Phil Foden is yet to make his senior bow for Manchester City

Pep Guardiola expects Phil Foden's achievements at the Under-17 World Cup to benefit both Manchester City and England down the line.

Stockport-born midfielder Foden was named player of the tournament on Saturday having scored twice in the final as England came from behind to beat Spain 5-2.

Foden could have made his senior debut for City in last week's Carabao Cup clash with Wolves but Guardiola left him in India, believing his involvement was more crucial to his development.

The 17-year-old, typically an attacking central midfielder, was pivotal to England's fightback in Kolkata playing in a more unfamiliar wider berth.

Foden netted his second in the final moments before Guardiola conducted his press conference after City's senior team defeated West Brom 3-2.

"What position did he play," Guardiola asked.

"When I find out, I will put him in this position if he scores two goals in the final!

"He's trained with us (the senior team) every single day. Of course, he is just 17. He is a young player. He is a player in our squad. Every day he is in the locker room with our guys.

"That is the best way to learn, from the experienced guys, about what it means to be at a high level.

"It is so important for Manchester City, for him, for everybody, that he played at a high, high level in that competition. We cannot forget. He played at a World Cup - England are world champions at that age.

"When that guy grows and plays in a World Cup in the future, he has lived that situation before and knows what he has to do."

Foden's former City colleague and current international team-mate Jadon Sancho was recalled from India by Borussia Dortmund so he could make his senior bow in the Bundesliga last weekend.

Yet Guardiola, whose in-form team have taken 28 points from a possible 30 in the Premier League, felt Foden was better served playing against his peers on a global stage along with City colleagues Joel Latibeaudiere and Curtis Anderson.

"Last week we played in the Carabao Cup but in my mind that guy has to play every weekend," Guardiola added of Foden.

"Maybe he would have played in the second team (development squad) this month. It is better to play in the World Cup against Spain, Brazil, Germany, all the African teams.

"If they stay here they play in front of no crowd. They don't compete realistically in the second team to play at a high level, so for all the English players, not just Phil, the other players at Man City, it was the big experience of their lives."

PA Media

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