Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Foden going nowhere – Guardiola hails youngster, dismisses loan switch

SoccerNews in UEFA Champions League 13 Mar 2019

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Pep Guardiola insists there is no chance of Manchester City youngster Phil Foden being sent out on loan to gain more first-team experience.

Foden produced an eye-catching cameo in City’s 7-0 Champions League demolition of Schalke on Tuesday, scoring his first goal in Europe’s premier club competition in the process.

The 18-year-old midfielder has six in all competitions this season but is yet to start a Premier League game amid a squad stacked with talent in the creative midfield positions.

Nevertheless, Guardiola is unequivocal in his view that the England Under-21 international is in the best place for his development.

“The people say he doesn’t play too much. He is 18 years old and he has played a lot of minutes,” he said.

“The people say he should be on loan; Phil Foden will not be on loan. All the time he is here he will be close to me because he is an incredibly talented player.

“He is with us. Congratulations [to him], because the minutes he played he did really well.”

Working under Guardiola’s watchful eye can sometimes be a thankless task, as City wingers Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling can ascertain.

Sane’s blistering first-leg free-kick against his former club Schalke, with City 2-1 down and depleted by Nicolas Otamendi’s red card, proved to be a pivotal moment in the tie.

The Germany winger clinically dispatched the third goal in the return rout before crossing for Sterling to brilliantly score his 19th of the season on the half-volley after half-time.

Guardiola felt his wingers could have shown more aggression during the opening-half exchanges – a period of relative calm before the storm that would engulf Schalke.

Asked whether this was Sane’s best performance for some time, Guardiola replied: “After the first goal, yes; before no.

“He was not aggressive enough in the first 20 minutes. I like when he runs and is aggressive and goes. Even if he loses the ball.

“The same with Raheem. The first half in the last game [against Watford] was not good. The second, with the hat-trick, was much better.

“But they are young. These ups and downs can happen. I know Leroy in the last games did not play too much and the confidence can be not good. But after 20 minutes he was outstanding.

“We know the incredible qualities he has. It is difficult to find that around the world.”

These are the sorts of problems brow-beaten Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco looked like he would welcome with open arms.

“Of course, it hurts when you lose 5-, 6- or 7-0 to stand there but that is why I’m here. It really hurt,” he said.

“I have to say, I don’t feel let down. At 2-0, it was two goals that happened quickly, otherwise it is clear they didn’t stop playing. City did everything you need to win the game by that level.”

Schalke lost each of their three Bundesliga games in between the two legs against City, conceding 11 goals in the process.

With a relegation battle looming, Tedesco insisted worrying about his own future would be a waste of energy.

“I haven’t thought about that for a second and I don’t imagine changing anything on my part. Even now I am proud to be coach of Schalke 04,” he added.

“I am happy to be here in this difficult situation. I’ve not thought about my position. That’s the last thing that I think about.”

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