On Tuesday night, England under-17 World Cup winner Phil Foden made his first team debut for Manchester City in the Citizens 1-0 Champions League victory over Feyenoord.
The youngster came on for the remaining 15 minutes of the clash with the Dutch side to taste his first senior action. The youngster had impressed majorly in pre-season before playing a vital role in the junior Three Lions winning the World Cup.
The midfielder, in fact, won Player of the Tournament at the World Cup for his performances with the Three Lions.
Foden is highly rated and considered a special talent for a player of his age. However, the 17-year-old faces a battle to make it into the Citizens first-team anytime soon.
It would be unrealistic to expect him to become a fixture in the first-team at 17. However, it will be highly difficult for him to establish himself in the future too.
Guardiola says it is up to Foden now
Talking about the youngster after the game Guardiola told Sky Sports: “Phil knows that the club is there to support him but it depends on him,”
“He has to come and work every day and he knows we trust a lot with him and we are going to try.”
The Catalan boss was obviously trying to keep the midfielder’s feet on the ground. However, it may well not just be down to the youngster if he makes into the first-team or not. Other factors will play a big part in his football future.
City can outspend every club in the league
It is very rare that a youngster comes through into the first-team of Manchester City. Gone are the days when the Citizens would look into their youth ranks to solve a problem position.
The Citizens have the financial clout to go out and spend big on players without even thinking about. That means that any young players will have an uphill struggle to break into the City team on a regular basis.
City boss Guardiola was renowned at Barcelona for championing the cause of young players. The Catalan boss played a major part in the development of the likes of Sergi Busquets, Pedro and of course the magical Lionel Messi.
If Foden fails to establish himself at City, it may not be all down to not working hard enough. It may not be down to not being good enough for the Premier League either.
The reason may be simply he has too many top-class players blocking his path to the first-team. At 17, many players are not even near their clubs first-team squad.
However, there is just something different about Foden, who seems to be a grounded young man. The midfielder is a lifelong City fan. According to club insiders, he just wants to play the game he loves and is not fazed by potential financial rewards.
Very early in his career
No doubt Phil Foden has lots of potential. However, so many young players have failed to fulfil their potential down the years at various clubs. At 17 years-of-age, he is very young and his career is just starting.
The British media tend to get carried away with young players. There has even been talk of a call-up to the England squad. In fact, he is currently odds of 8/1 to be in the Three Lions World Cup squad.
It is far too early to call the midfielder up for a World Cup squad. He should just be concentrating on playing more first-team minutes at Manchester City this season.
If he broke into first-team football gradually, then maybe we can avoid the usual hype and burn out that some young talents suffer.
It would be fantastic for City, England and the youngster if one day he could become a regular in first-team. Far too many young talented players fall by the wayside.
If he does not make it at City, I have a feeling that there will be plenty of other Premier League clubs willing to give him a chance.
Will Phil Foden make it into Manchester City’s first-team?
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