Phil Foden is determined to establish himself at Manchester City.
The 18-year-old academy graduate, despite having been rated as the club’s most promising youngster for some time, is having to wait patiently for first-team openings in Pep Guardiola’s side.
Over the weekend Brahim Diaz followed the example of Jadon Sancho to become the latest highly-rated young player to leave City in search of opportunities elsewhere, joining Real Madrid in a deal potentially worth £22million.
Foden, who signed a new six-year contract last month, has no interest in taking that path.
“It’s up to them really,” said the midfielder after making his sixth start of the season – and scoring – in Sunday’s 7-0 thrashing of Rotherham in the FA Cup third round.
“They have gone their separate ways and everyone has their own plan in what they want to do, so fair play to them.
“Everyone is different, and I see myself playing here. It’s up to them, really. It shows the strength of the squad we have here, how good the players are. It is difficult to get in, but we all try our best.
It’s brilliant to play alongside players like Kevin De Bruyne. You just learn from the best.Phil Foden
“I just need to keep pushing, do my best in the games and take opportunities when they come.
“We’ve got the best set of players and the best staff so I’m in the right position. I’m learning off them every day, so I couldn’t be in a better place.
“It’s brilliant to play alongside players like Kevin De Bruyne. You just learn from the best.”
Diaz, 19, joined City at the age of 14 and was good friends with Foden.
“I’m sad to see him go but he wants opportunities, so good luck to him,” said Foden. “He will do well, I know it. I grew up with him and know his qualities. Maybe one day I’ll face him in the Champions League.”
Foden has been on the fringes of first-team action this season and made 16 appearances, but his chances to start have largely been limited to domestic cup matches.
That has led to speculation Foden could be loaned out to gain experience but that was emphatically ruled out by Guardiola after the game with the manager saying that was “impossible”.
City were hardly extended by Championship Rotherham at the Etihad Stadium, and had already gone close several times before Raheem Sterling opened the scoring after 12 minutes.
Special moment for me and a class team performance 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/eKMGfPpZPf— Phil Foden (@PhilFoden) January 6, 2019
Foden doubled the lead before a Semi Ajayi own goal on the stroke of half-time. Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane completed the rout.
“He (Guardiola) told us to take it seriously and not take our foot off the gas,” said Foden. “We still had a strong team out, and we were ruthless.”
Foden’s goal – his first at the Etihad – was not the cleanest of strikes as he miscontrolled an Ilkay Gundogan cross but his contact was firm enough to take it in.
He said: “My first instinct was to shoot first time but I was a bit off-balance, so I tried to take a touch. It hit my left knee and luckily went in. They all count!”