Simply put, Manchester City is one of the best teams in the world. It is one team that strikes fear into the hearts of others and their supporters. Over the past two seasons under Pep Guardiola, Man City has managed 198 points in the Premier League. They placed 1st on both those seasons, not to mention they have the record for the most points in a single season. Last season, they won 4 domestic trophies(first team to do so) and were really close to making it 5 but their UCL run ended in the Semi-final stage against Tottenham Hotspur in one of the best matches in recent times. The team has some of the best players in the world. Even their bench is widely considered to be impeccable. One of the more impressive things Pep Guardiola does with the team is clever rotations. As a result, we get to witness some incredible changes in the flow of attack. We also get to see what some of the new players are capable of. One player who made a great impression in this gamut of rotations of is 19-year-old Phil Foden. The midfielder was heavily talked about as one of the best new young players after his series of matches in the coveted Blue jersey.
The Talent on the Field:
The 19-year-old English midfielder started in only 3 matches for the Blues in 2018-19 but that’s all it took for people to take notice. His speed was demonlike as was his dribbling. Foden proved to be very quick both on and off the ball. His positional play has been very sharp along with precise, clever and quick short passes. Foden mixed clever 1-2’s and lane changes into his movements with the ball which time and time again made him look like an expert and seasoned dribbler. Very creative with the way he played, Foden also incorporated feints and powerful long-distance shots into the way he played. There was also the fact of his incredible performance against Tottenham towards the end of the 2018-19 season, where he scored his first Premier League goal. While the header from the youngster might’ve seemed easy, there’s also the fact that he had to position himself in coordination with Aguero to make the goal possible. His performances showcased how much of a natural aptitude he has for attacking football.
While he played very few matches, he did put up some good numbers. All in all, aside from 3 starts, Foden played 10 matches as a substitute(PL). He scored 1 goal via header against Tottenham and before that, he scored in the Champions League. He managed an 86.6% passing accuracy in last year’s PL. Foden completed 1.1 shots and 0.6 dribbles per game with Man City in the PL last season. While those numbers don’t seem high at first glance, once you consider that he maintained them despite playing mostly as a substitute, your opinion on him likely becomes far more positive. Even in this season, he managed a goal in the UCL against Dinamo Zagreb due to some smart positioning and clinical positioning on the right of Raheem Sterling.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to observe how Guardiola utilizes him. He will probably get more game time with Pep Guardiola rotating player constantly and that goes double to avoid fatigue when they compete in tournaments other than the Premier League (UCL, FA Cup, etc.). A move to a club is unlikely especially with the manager claiming Foden to be an extremely impressive player and reports saying he wouldn’t let go of Foden even for a significant amount of money. It’s evident that he will see more game time via Pep Guardiola’s constant rotation and taking his former performances as evidence, it’s highly unlikely that he would squander those chances. It will be difficult to integrate him seeing that even the likes of Bernardo Silva can be seen on the bench. Foden would be terrific in rotations with players like David Silva or Gundogan and that is probably what is going to happen as the game weeks get more and more occupied. All in all, with Foden, Manchester City looks to be sitting on a gold mine of potential. Time will tell if he maintains value but for now, the future is gleaming with hope.