Pep Guardiola and Manchester City may have their ultimate David Silva replacement integrated into the first-team squad already, based off of fresh interview comments.
The legendary former Spain international is widely regarded as being one of Manchester City and the Premier League’s greatest ever players, and while the reigning Champions of England have managed in the period without Silva, they have not been able to quite replace the profile.
However, some within the club have long tipped Phil Foden as being a potential successor to the former Valencia playmaker, who left the club at the end of the 2019/20 season following a ten-year stay at the Etihad Stadium.
Foden has been utilised in a multitude of positions since breaking into Pep Guardiola’s squad for the first time in 2017, ranging from a brief stint in the left-back role right through to several outings as a false-nine.
However, the ongoing campaign has marked the first time that the Stockport-born star has been trusted in the attacking midfield role as he filled in for the absence of Kevin De Bruyne – who missed the entire first-half of the season through injury.
Speaking to ManCity.com this week, Phil Foden has revealed his belief that he suits operating in the central role in matches where opposition players and defences sit deep and defend their goal as far back as possible and in numbers.
“When we play teams who have a low block, I’m somebody who likes to do a lot of movements, find space in behind, play balls to feet and make runs in behind,” Foden explained.
“I’m an energetic player who likes to create, so I actually think it suits me to play against teams who defend in numbers.
“I like to think I’m going to be the one who unlocks the defence and help the team score important goals, so I’m delighted by the way things are going this season. Is it as well as I’ve played for City? I’d say so, yeah.”
A left-footed player operating in small spaces and breaking the lines will almost certainly remind many Manchester City supporters of the David Silva days at the Etihad, and Foden himself has admitted that he learned a lot directly from the legendary Spanish playmaker.
“Even when David was here and I was training and playing alongside him, I studied what he was doing and watched what he did and how he did it,” Foden told ManCity.com as part of an exclusive interview for the Club’s monthly magazine.
“He was one of the best players I ever played with, and he was also one of the best at unlocking low block defences.
“He could receive the ball in tight spaces and find the right passes at the right time and because I’ve moved more centrally lately, I’ve been allowed to do those sort of things – more so than when I’m out on the wing – so, hopefully I can keep having opportunities to play there and keep learning because I think there is so much I can still give in that role.”
Foden is likely to be afforded plenty more opportunities to excel in the attacking midfield role this season, however with Kevin De Bruyne’s return to the side, there could be more occasions when Pep Guardiola will lean towards starting the England international out wide.
Manchester City return to action on Monday night when they travel to take on Brentford at the Gtech Community Stadium in Premier League action.
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