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Manchester City director reveals tracking of first-team star for 11 years and ‘telling him’ to stop training



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Etihad Stadium director of football Txiki Begiristain has glowed with praise on the rise and development of Manchester City playmaker Phil Foden in light of recent accolades.

The 23-year-old playmaker – who has enjoyed his most productive season in front of goal to date this campaign – has been recognised by some of the country’s leading individual football awards as a direct result of his performances.

Foden followed in Erling Haaland’s footsteps from last season by winning his first Football Writers’ Association Men’s Footballer of the Year award in recent weeks, in an accolade voted for by some of the nation’s best sports writers.

The Manchester City academy graduate has since gone on to follow up that success with his first ever Premier League Player of the Season award, with two hat-tricks having been scored in the division this season as part of a 17-goal haul.

City’s sporting director has been keen to recognise that remarkable achievements of Phil Foden since first breaking into the Etihad Stadium first-team squad in 2017, competing with some of the finest stars in the game to firmly establish himself as a key figure in the squad.

Speaking whilst in attendance at the Football Writers’ Association awards in London earlier this week, Txiki Begiristain was keen to praise the rise of Phil Foden and just how much the player has developed over the 11 years he has been aware of the England international.

“A player who loves football, is from Stockport and is enjoying and being professional and adapting himself to the way we want to play,” Begiristain summarised. “I’ve been here (at Manchester City) for 11 years so I’ve seen everything of him. He is unbelievable.

“He loves football. He loves to stay on the pitch. He is the happiest man. He is the first to go on the pitch, the last one going out. Sometimes we have to tell him [to stop training]. Because of the players we have and the team, he has been sacrificing himself for the team by playing in wide areas.”

Begiristain continued, “He is already asking to play more central. To have a player who can play wide and is performing and producing his best is a privilege for us. His progression has been unbelievable. He is 23 and I would say he is getting to the top.

“Phil has always played in the fastest way. I think he is now getting the maturity of when he has to accelerate the game and when to play more calm and composed and to keep possession. He is maturing on that. He is 23 years old and he has won trophies like an animal.”

Manchester City and Phil Foden will be hoping for two more trophy successes this season, as they face West Ham on the final day knowing that a win would make them Premier League champions for a fourth successive season, and an FA Cup final to follow.