Men's Team

Central role for ‘special’ Foden a question of time, says Pep

Pep Guardiola says Phil Foden is on the right path to playing a central role on a more frequent basis.

Foden has enjoyed a blistering start to the 2023/24 campaign, grabbing three assists in our first four Premier League matches from out wide, while also getting on the scoresheet for England during the recent international break.

Still just 23, Guardiola discussed some of the midfielder’s unique abilities ahead of our return to Premier League action against West Ham on Saturday afternoon.

However, the boss also pointed out the particular areas where he believes the England international needs to continue working before he’s the finished article.

“With the ball, he doesn't have to improve anything. Without the ball he needs to know exactly when you have a midblock or deeper, you have responsibilities completely different to playing wide,” Guardiola explained.

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“It’s just a question of time. Because we can’t forget he’s so young.

“Playing inside, he has certain qualities. His first control and dynamic and how he attacks the last line, it’s difficult to find around the world. Every control he makes he knows exactly where the goal is.

“His control, he doesn’t need two or three touches to know how to attack, he knows exactly when he receives it, right or left he's always a threat.


“It’s not easy to find, and Phil is special. But in the middle and final third you have to defend the goal. It’s just a question of time.

“Phil runs a lot. He's not lazy at all. But to read the situations, the winger is there if the ball is on the opposite side you go inside, when you’re inside it comes from right, left, front, back.

“You have to take more positions. If he's able to do it with the ball, without the ball it’s easier. It’s just a question of time.”

Guardiola also discussed the potential impact City’s new recruits can have in our pursuit of domestic and European silverware this season.

Croatian duo Mateo Kovacic and Josko Gvardiol joined the Club from Chelsea and RB Leipzig respectively, with Jeremy Doku and Matheus Nunes arriving from Stade Rennais and Wolverhampton Wanderers later in the window.

The boss is excited by what they can each bring to a squad already packed with world class talent, but insisted there’s no pressure on them to instantly hit top gear.

He said: “We have to wait. I don't want to talk a lot. We are going to help them, we talk a lot with them in the short time with them.

“They have time. Not all the players arrived first season. Bernardo didn't play much and is now irreplaceable for us. It’s a question of time.

“Jeremy [Doku]. Mateo [Kovacic] knows the Premier League better. Matheus [Nunes] as well. It is a question of time to adapt.

“But they will adapt. They know they have time. They have time, we have time to wait.”