Kevin De Bruyne wants Phil Foden to stay at Manchester City for the long term after the 18-year-old made his full Premier League debut against Cardiff City.
Pep Guardiola’s side moved back to the top of the table, a point above Liverpool, after goals from De Bruyne and Leroy Sane sealed a 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.
Foden was twice denied by goalkeeper Neil Etheridge and hit the post as he marked his first top-flight start with an impressive performance in midfield.
It has been suggested Foden could follow the example of Jadon Sancho by leaving City for the chance of more regular first-team football abroad, despite signing a new contract until 2024 last December.
But De Bruyne is keen for his young team-mate to enjoy a long career at his boyhood club – as long as he feels happy.
“He’s doing very well, he’s very talented,” De Bruyne told Sky Sports. “I know there’s a lot of pressure on him to play, but he’s played a lot of games.
“Our team is
world-class. To come into the team, you have to prove yourself. That’s what he’s doing when he’s playing. He needs to keep working and help us maybe win some titles.
“If he’s happy here and playing enough time, then he should stay with us and keep working, but in the end, it’s his decision.”
18 – Phil Foden (18y 310d) is the youngest player to make his first Premier League start for Manchester City since Jose Pozo against Leicester in Dec 2014 (18y 273d), and youngest English player to do so since Daniel Sturridge in Jan 2008 against Derby (18y 151d). Future. pic.twitter.com/NU4xT2WgvI
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 3, 2019
Foden was delighted to earn his first league start, even if he was frustrated not to get on the scoresheet.
“It was a dream come true, starting in the Premier League,” he said. “I needed a bit of Kev’s luck today! It happens, I suppose. I don’t think it was my day, but it doesn’t matter, as long as the lads won.
“It’s great to learn from Kev and David [Silva] in that position. I’m enjoying every day.”
De Bruyne’s goal came as he fired high past Etheridge from a tight angle to the left of the penalty area, and the Belgium star admitted it was a fluke.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 3, 2019
Asked if he meant his finish, De Bruyne said: “No, not really! In the end, it all counts. I wanted to give it hard in front of the keeper and I had to do it on the turn. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it goes less so.
“We wanted to start like we did against Fulham and we did that, we could have scored two or three goals. I think we dominated the game, we created way more chances than 2-0 in the end.”
De Bruyne was making just his 10th start of the league season, having struggled with a succession of injuries, most recently a hamstring problem.
“My season has been very long. It feels like the double-length of season of other players. I had to work so hard to come back three, four times,” he said.
“I’m probably not going to have the level I had last year but, in the end, it’s not about me, it’s about what I can do to help this team lift titles.”
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