Mens Team

Foden going from strength to strength

It’s fair to say that few players have blossomed more than Phil Foden since City’s return to competitive action post lockdown.

The 20-year-old has been a model of consistency over the past five weeks and he has also complemented his trademark vision and creativity by demonstrating an even sharper cutting edge in front of goal.

Foden was on the mark once again in Tuesday’s impressive 4-0 Premier League win over Watford, registering what was his fifth goal since the restart on June 17.

Pep Guardiola has consistently praised Foden’s application, desire and willingness to learn from his senior colleagues, describing the Stockport-born midfielder as one of the most exciting young talents he has ever worked with.

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And, quizzed at his post-match press conference in the wake of our Vicarage Road triumph, the City boss was again categorical about the important role Foden can play looking to our long-term future.

“Phil is a reality of our club and team, and he is a player who can play alongside David Silva,” Guardiola asserted.

“Tomorrow and beyond he will be here, and it will depend on his performances as to whether he has more minutes or less."

Many have identified Foden as a potential natural successor to Silva with our Spanish marvel set to depart later this summer after an unforgettable decade at the Club.

However, to compare like for like would be both unfair and somewhat disingenuous.

They are different players and while Silva is in the autumn of a quite glorious career that has seen him enshrined as one of City’s all-time greats, Foden’s own career is still in its exciting infancy

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What isn’t in doubt though is how Foden’s growing maturity and influence has only helped to galvanise City this term.

It’s worth emphasising that Foden produced a superb man-of-the-match display in our Carabao Cup final win over Aston Villa at Wembley shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic brought football to a halt.

As that showpiece occasion demonstrated, when he has played, more often than not, Foden’s prowess and potential has garnered rich dividends.

And his impact and influence has been borne out by a tranche of impressive statistics chalked up across the course of the 2019/20 campaign.

Indeed, in many ways it could be argued that this is the season when Foden has truly come of age.

For starters, Foden has racked up 1628 minutes of action across all competitions for City – easily outstripping his previous best tally of 1137 from last term.

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Not surprisingly, as a result it has seen Foden register his highest number of appearances in all competitions for the Club (36), as opposed to tallies of 26 in 2018/19 and 10 in 20 17/18 respectively.

That growing development has also been mirrored in his own end product.

From his 16 starts this term across all competitions, Foden has been directly involved in 14 goals, registering six goals and eight assists.

His Tuesday strike at Watford took his overall tally for the campaign to eight – the same number as Bernardo Silva and ahead of fellow midfield compatriots David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan.

Not surprisingly that goal collection is another season’s best for the England Under-21 star, surpassing the seven he notched up in the previous two campaigns.

And with nine assists in total, Foden has chalked up one more individual best tally.

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With one more Premier League assignment ahead of us - Sunday’s Etihad finale against Norwich – and the resumption of our Champions League campaign looming next month, there is still scope for Foden to further improve those already impressive statistics.

With two Premier League, an FA Cup, three Carabao Cup and two Community Shield winners' medals to his name, Foden has already amassed a phenomenal honours collection.

And regardless of what transpires between now and the end of August, there’s no doubting that Foden seems set fair to further flourish next season and beyond with his natural ability and influence likely to to be a key part of our attacking armoury.