Phil Foden says he couldn’t have asked for a better manager to bring him through than Pep Guardiola. Manchester City has been excited about Foden since he came to their academy as a boy, but it has been under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach that he has broken into the first team. Guardiola was instantly besotted with Foden and has dismissed any suggestion that the player should go on loan to develop despite regular debate around the country about the best path for one of England’s brightest prospects. The player himself hasn’t always been satisfied with his lack of game time either. However, in City’s bleakest moment this season the manager turned to the 20-year-old to help guide them through and the Blues are now top of the Premier League table having won their last nine games in the competition. Only four outfield players have been used more this season and Foden made his 100th appearance for his boyhood club in the 5-0 win over West Brom last week.
Phil Foden said: “I always had a dream that I would play here, but sometimes you don’t think it is going to happen. To play 100 appearances at a club that I have always enjoyed watching and supported is massive. I think it is always better [to have come through the academy]. You give 100% in every game and give your passion to every game. That is what I feel like I do. I never imagined who the coach would be [if I ever broke through], but I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to progress my game. I am delighted that he is my coach and he has helped me a lot. He has changed me into a man pretty quickly because I came to the first team at such a young age. He developed me quickly and changed my game completely and turned me into a better player all round.”
It felt like Foden’s time had come last season ahead of City’s trip to Anfield, but he was ultimately left out of the XI that went down 3-1. His class was on show though in the 4-0 win over the champions in July and it has become increasingly unavoidable to ignore the youngster when picking a best XI for a big game. And despite growing up with United support in his household, Foden’s emergence as a professional has also coincided with a different rivalry as City and Liverpool have duked it out for the title while United have scrapped for a top-four place. City’s latest star is hoping the victory on Sunday in their most high-profile game can nudge them one step closer to the title.
Phil Foden added: “It is probably the biggest game that we face in the league now. If we can beat them it will be a massive win and will help us progress to the title, hopefully. When I was younger, it was more about the derby, but now there are more teams for us [to compete with]. Chelsea, Liverpool, United, they are all massive games for us now. Liverpool are a great side and have so many great attackers. It is going to be a very difficult game and I can see it being quite even and end-to-end. On the day, whoever takes their chances will come out on top. I am hoping we can put the ball away more than them and get a good result. Neither team will sit back. It will be a great, attacking game.”
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