Phil Foden: Man City youngster will be ‘important player for decade’

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Phil Foden "will be an important player" for Manchester City "for the next decade", says boss Pep Guardiola.

The 18-year-old midfielder made his first Premier League start in a 2-0 win over Cardiff on Wednesday as City went back to the top of the table.

Foden has played 24 times this season, a mix of cup games and substitute appearances in the league.

"Even though he is a young player he is able to do everything. Every game he creates chances," said Guardiola.

Foden has started games in the Champions League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup - scoring six goals - as well as coming on 10 times in the league. He made another 10 appearances last season, having made his debut in the Champions League in November 2017.

"He has played a lot of minutes [966 this season]," said Guardiola. "This was not his first official game with us. He is part of the group - last season he trained with us, played sometimes, but this season, every training day, every single day he is in the locker room so he is part of the group and everything and he feels that."

Foden - at 18 years and 310 days - is the youngest English player to start a league game for City since Daniel Sturridge in January 2008.

"He is an exceptional player but at the same time it is not easy for him, playing in David Silva's position, Kevin de Bruyne's position, with Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva," said Guardiola.

"But he has passion and he wants to be here. We are delighted he is here. I assure you next season he is going to play more minutes than he has this season, and that is the process - you know, calm, and [nearly] 19 years old."

'A dream to start'

Phil Foden

England Under-21 international Foden, who is from nearby Stockport, said: "It was a dream come true to start in the Premier League. I think I needed a bit of Kev [de Bruyne]'s luck to score.

"I think I did well. A little mistake at the end, something to learn."

'Foden has big decision to make'

Another City youth-team product, Jadon Sancho, moved to Borussia Dortmund in August 2017 and has gone on to make 48 appearances for the German side, scoring 10 goals. He has broken in the senior England team, winning four caps at the age of 19.

BBC Radio 5 Live pundit Danny Mills, a former City defender, said: "Phil Foden has improved since last season, but he hasn't played enough football to start week in, week out.

"He will get to a stage, maybe at the end of next season, when he will have a big decision to make.

"He is a boyhood City fan and they play great football, but if his pals of a similar age are playing football, he might not sign a new deal because he will be wanting to play."

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