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‘He’s only 22. I know at 22 I wasn’t the player I am now’ Phil Foden will keep improving, insists Kevin De Bruyne

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Manchester City's Phil Foden celebrates scoring their side's fourth goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Sunday October 2, 2022.

Manchester City's Phil Foden celebrates scoring their side's fourth goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Sunday October 2, 2022.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2022.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2022.

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Manchester City's Phil Foden celebrates scoring their side's fourth goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Sunday October 2, 2022.

Kevin De Bruyne has no doubt Phil Foden will keep getting better and better.

Foden was outstanding on Sunday as both he and Erling Haaland scored hat-tricks in Manchester City’s 6-3 derby demolition of Manchester United.

The midfielder is now one of City’s seniors stars and an established England international after graduating through the club’s youth ranks, and team-mate De Bruyne feels there is plenty more to come from him.

“He’s only 22,” said De Bruyne. “I know at 22 I wasn’t the player that I am now.

“He’s so good, so it’s trying to find consistency. He’s been playing unbelievably for us so he will be here for a long time.”

De Bruyne feels Foden is talented enough to play in a number of positions but expects him to play more centrally as his career progresses.

The Belgian said: “What is he not good at? He can play in a lot of different positions.

“I think eventually he will end up playing centrally but in this moment in time it is maybe a little bit better for him on the wing to have more freedom and fewer instructions so he flows into the game.

“I eventually see him playing more centrally when he gets older and gets more stamina. It’s all about little details to just find more consistency in the performances.”

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City’s performance against United, with summer signing Haaland continuing his sensational start at the club, was perhaps an ominous sign for the rest of the competition.

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Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2022.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2022.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Wednesday August 31, 2022.

There had been uncertainty over how quickly the champions would click into gear with Haaland’s arrival, coming after the departures of Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus, altering the focus of the side’s attack.

De Bruyne said: “I don’t feel like the energy before was any different.

“If you have a couple of players with one year left on their contract and they choose a different challenge, it’s maybe best to get some money for them even if the players were so important for us.

“But the guys who’ve came in have done really well, so we have to give props to them for coming in, changing teams and playing the way they are, so it’s good for us.”


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