Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Will Phil Foden see much first-team football at Manchester City?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 24 Jul 2018

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Manchester City has one of the most promising young English players in their midst in attacking midfielder Phil Foden. The 18-year-old made ten first-team appearances last season, with most of those appearances coming as a substitute or in cup competitions.

The youngster is no doubt talented. However, he is at a club that has an embarrassment of riches in his position and money to expand their options.

Decided to stay with City this summer

Foden has already achieved international success with the England under-17’s, winning the World Cup last summer, while also finishing as runners-up in the under-17 European Championships.

The midfielder turned down the chance to play for England under-19 at this summer’s European Championships. Instead, he stayed with the Citizens in an attempt to impress City boss Pep Guardiola enough to earn more regular first-team football next season.

Despite the huge amounts of money that Guardiola has spent during his career, the Catalan boss has a decent record when it comes to developing young players. The likes of Sergio Busquets, Pedro and Lionel Messi developed well under his tutelage at Barcelona. No doubt Guardiola is the sort of boss who can get the best out of the young players in his charge.

Could be loaned out elsewhere

Foden had previously been linked with a loan move to a Premier League or Championship club this summer. A loan move would seem the obvious way of the young midfielder gathering valuable first-team experience, which could be vital for his development.

However, from all the noises coming out of City, Guardiola wants Foden to stay with City and fight for a place in the first-team squad. If Foden does stay, then he is likely only going to see limited first-team action, just like last season.

Not only does City have the same group of attacking midfielders from last season, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling, but also summer signing Riyad Mahrez.

Guardiola does like a good old rotate of his squad. Even with the Catalan bosses tinkering ways it is hard to see Foden starting in the top-flight ahead of many of those highly rated attacking midfielders on many occasions.

If he went to a mid-level Premier League club, he would stand a better chance of actually getting on the pitch. However, he would not be training alongside the same class of player or coached by one of the best bosses in the world.

It is a difficult decision for City and the youngster to make this summer. If the Citizens make the wrong choice, then it could damage the youngster’s development and he may not fulfil his potential.

Difficult to break into a formidable City team

Let’s face it, the Manchester City starting line-up is probably the most difficult of any Premier League club for a youngster to break into. The Citizens have international players in every position, and if they want to improve their options, they go out and splash the cash.

Guardiola’s side are the favourites to win the Premier League title at odds of 4/6 in the new season. Just how much playing time Foden would see with the Citizens is unclear, especially if the men from Manchester hit the ground running at the start of the campaign.

England boss Gareth Southgate has talked about Phil Foden becoming a member of his Three Lions squad in the future. His performances at youth international level have obviously impressed the England chief.

However, Foden needs to be playing regular first-team football to earn selection for the national team. Fleeting appearances for the Citizens is unlikely to be enough to get him into the Three Lions squad. On the other hand, Foden has plenty of time to improve, so maybe staying at City under Guardiola is best for the youngster’s development for now.

Will Phil Foden see much first-team football at Manchester City?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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