Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Pep Is a Friend Not Fo for City Youngster Phil

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Pep Is a Friend Not Fo for City Youngster Phil

Article excerpt

THE clamour surrounding Phil Foden whenever a City team, or an England squad, is announced, is extraordinary.

Pep Guardiola is accused of ruining the country's brightest young talent by failing to start him in just about every game, while Gareth Southgate is seen as stubbornly resisting the blindingly obvious. It must sometimes seem, even to an undemanding teenager like Foden, that maybe he is getting overlooked and under-used.

Rarely does anyone draw breath to consider that, actually, Guardiola may have got it right.

Of course, the sight of Mason Mount, a year older than Foden, and the Stockport lad's former City team-mate Jadon Sancho, both making progress with the senior England team, has only served to amplify the noise.

Taking City first, Foden is trying to break into one of the top five teams on the planet, not making his way at Watford or Bournemouth.

That means trying to displace 125-cap Spain international David Silva or Kevin De Bruyne, one of the best players in the world.

Rarely does draw breath that, actually, may have on Stuart The very fact that he is in contention speaks volumes for the regard in which Guardiola holds him.

Former City boss Stuart Pearce is the latest to make some noise, claiming Foden should force a loan move.

He said: "In January, he really needs to look at where he is at the moment."

So exactly where is Foden, aged 19 years and 138 days old, compared to the two legends with whom he is competing, Silva and De Bruyne? When Silva was that age, he had been farmed out on loan to Eibar in the Spanish second division - partly because he was not good enough, and partly because he was not big enough, to make the Valencia first team.

He had not made a single top-flight appearance, while Foden has already got 15 starts and 25 substitute appearances tucked under his belt. …

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