Phil Foden has been touted as Manchester City’s nugget for years. Child of the club and even of the city of Mancunienne, the Englishman seems to meet at 20 years the expectations placed in him by Pep Guardiola and the citizen people.
We expected to see Sergio Agüero or Raheem Sterling on the field in the semi-final first leg of the Champions League against PSG but Pep Guardiola preferred Phil Foden to them.
Not much in sight during the Citizens’ victory at Parc des Princes (1-2), the 20-year-old English winger could play a decisive role this Tuesday during the return match at the Etihad Stadium (at 9 p.m. on RMC Sport 1) and cause a wave of happiness among the fans of the English team.
>> Manchester City-PSG, info before the semi-final second leg
The kid from Stockport, a pure product of City
Born in Stockport on the southern outskirts of Manchester, Phil Foden represents the future of English football. Seen as THE nugget of the Three Lions, his potential splashed through the youth categories throughout his training at Manchester City.
At a time when Emirati owners are recruiting stars with millions of dollars, the Englishman serves as a symbol and perfectly embodies the success of the Skyblues training center.
Launched in a friendly by the Catalan during the International Champions Cup in the summer of 2017, the winger had shone and almost immediately received the congratulations of Pep Guardiola.
“It had been a long time since I had seen something like this, enthused the manager of Manchester City. His performance was on a different level. […] I have no words… I wish I had the right words to describe what I saw. You are the lucky ones who saw this kid’s first Manchester City game. “
U17 world champion and best player of the competition in 2017 with England, Phil Foden aroused enormous enthusiasm even before his first-team debut under Pep Guardiola. If young Londoners could relate to Harry Kane, the children of Manchester had Phil Foden.
The jewel brooded by Guardiola
Quickly compared to Lionel Messi or Andrés Iniesta, with his ability to make one-on-one differences and thanks to his superb vision of the game, Phil Foden will however take more time to hatch than his illustrious predecessors at Barça. And for good reason, Pep Guardiola did not want to burn it. After integrating him into the professional group at the start of the 2017-2018 season, the coach took several months before launching in the Premier League.
“He is only 17 years old but he is part of the team. In each match, he is in the locker room with the guys, even justified the technician in front of the press in October 2017. It is the best way to ‘learn from experienced players who have played at a high level. “
The Manchester coach will then not hesitate to give him playing time in the Champions League. From the group stage during matches counting for butter after the rapid qualification of the Citizens. Then in the round of 16 second leg against Basel in March 2018. Then aged 17 years and 283 days, Phil Foden had then become the youngest Englishman to play a final stage match in C1. It was not until this season and the precocious Jude Bellingham to break this record during the double confrontation between Sevilla and Dortmund.
Often used in the axis in his beginnings, Phil Foden will not immediately succeed in making his hole there. During the 2018-19 season, he only played 13 games in the league and most often was content to wax the bench behind the captains Fernandinho, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne.
The hypothesis of a loan had been considered to allow him to continue his apprenticeship, Pep Guardiola preferred to keep him close to him and instill in him his precepts of the game. Still replacing at the start of the 2019-2020 campaign, the Englishman has managed to scratch precious minutes but had to migrate down the left lane to get there.
Foden finally exploded
The confidence of Pep Guardiola and the patience of Phil Foden have finally paid off this season and the English neo-international (six caps) finally seems to have materialized the hopes placed in him.
In the Premier League, the 20-year-old winger has made 25 appearances for a record of seven goals and five assists. Better, he actively participated in the beautiful series of fifteen consecutive wins in the league, missing only four games during the period.
Despite the big competition in the Citizens’ attack, Phil Foden has also taken a step forward in the Champions League. Substitute in the first game of the European campaign against Porto in October, he has not left the starting XI since. After scoring the winning goal in Greece against Olympiacos on Matchday 4 of the group stage, the Englishman shone in the knockout matches.
Decisive passer for the eighth return against Mönchengladbach, the attacking midfielder delivered Manchester City with a capital goal in the quarter-final first leg against Dortmund (2-1). Rebelote on the return to the Ruhr (1-2) when he put an end to the BVB dream and stole the show from the long-awaited but disappointing Erling Haaland by scoring the victorious goal. Less dashing at the Parc des Princes, Phil Foden will be keen to help his long-standing club to qualify for the first Champions League final in its history.
>> Manchester City-PSG, it’s Tuesday from 9 p.m. on RMC Sport 1