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“Top class” — Pep Guardiola delivers strong verdict on Phil Foden midfield showings



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Pep Guardiola has showered praise on Phil Foden’s performances since the Englishman moved into midfield.

Phil Foden was labeled the ‘future’ of Manchester City’s midfield since breaking out of the club’s academy system in the early years of Pep Guardiola’s managerial tenure at the Etihad Stadium.

However, stiff competition in the centre of the park saw the youngster begin his senior career on the flanks for the Blues, a role which he has held in the six years since breaking into the first-team.

Recently though, the absence of Kevin De Bruyne has forced Pep Guardiola to move Foden into more central roles to pick up the creative slack – and Foden has answered the call with some stellar showings.

“In that position he’s… I said before,” Pep Guardiola said after Foden dazzled in midfield once again against Sheffield United last weekend.

“We can make crosses but it’s not our style because we don’t have the players for that and after the players move in the pockets and have to be aggressive – and Phil is exceptional with that!

“Rico (Lewis), when he came in, there are guys in the smaller spaces that are good and teams that are set back like this, we need this type of players.

“Like David Silva from before, for example. Or (Ilkay) Gundogan, for example. They are really, really good in these spaces.”

“That’s why I’m really pleased that Phil again, since after Crystal Palace, I think he learned the lesson, and Urawa (Reds), Fluminense, Goodison Park, and (against Sheffield United) he had been outstanding – all four of his games have been top, top, top class.

“(He is) playing good, and scoring goals, and assists, and all the important things that we need of him!”

It is yet to be seen if Foden will remain central as Kevin De Bruyne returns to the team. The Belgian was on the bench against the Blades last weekend, his first time featuring in the matchday squad since suffering a hamstring injury on the opening day against Burnley.

But Foden’s showings in the centre of the park in recent matches could force Pep Guardiola into a difficult decision regarding his mercurial talent as his options begin to grow.