Mens Team

Academy proud of Foden's England debut, says Wilcox

Academy proud of Foden's England debut, says Wilcox
Jason Wilcox says Phil Foden’s England debut is a source of great pride for everyone connected with Manchester City’s Academy.

Foden made his first senior international appearance in the UEFA Nations League game against Iceland, his latest achievement in a remarkable fledgling career which has seen him become the youngest ever Premier League winner and earn the Man of the Match award in the 2020 Carabao Cup final at the age of 19.

It has been an incredible rise from a player who first joined the Club as a nine-year-old and Academy Director Wilcox says his international bow was a special moment for the staff who have been part of Foden’s journey.

“I’m delighted for him,” said Wilcox. “To get a call up at 20 is an amazing achievement and one we shouldn’t take lightly.

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“He has progressed all the way through and to make your debut for your country is a milestone.

“Every member of Academy staff will have had a touching point with Phil so when you see him make his international debut it makes you extremely proud.

“He is not only a fantastic footballer; he is also a fantastic person and we are equally as proud of that.”

Foden’s vast potential has been evident since he first walked through the doors of the Academy.

WATCH: Spotlight: Phil Foden v Oxford

Indeed, Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak was aware of the youngster as early as 2010 and recently revealed how satisfying it has been to see him develop from a talented prospect into a first team player.

“I was at the Academy and I was speaking to Brian Marwood,” he recalled in his annual end of season interview.

“I was asking him about the talent. He pointed out a player, who was nine-years-old back then, from Stockport. Phil Foden. We had a nice discussion and it stayed in my head.

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“I remember over the years, whenever I was at the Academy, I was always asking how he was developing.

“Brian had a clear, almost prophetic, view of how Phil was going to evolve and what he was going to become over the years, given the talent that he saw.

“Watching it play out over the past 10 years is very fulfilling. Certainly, I’m very proud of what Phil has accomplished so far.”

The Chairman also hailed Foden’s mentality, a recurring theme for anyone who has worked with him.

WATCH: Phil Foden's football heroes

He is blessed with talent, but that is complemented by an exemplary attitude and a desire to improve, which Wilcox credits for enabling him to flourish in a senior environment.

“From the moment I saw him, he was always the first on the training ground and always the last off it,” added the Academy Director, who coached Foden at under-13 and under-18 level.

“He was always open to learning, always asking questions and took responsibility for his learning.

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“He is a likeable guy, who works hard and is very humble. When you have got all that as a cocktail, you have got a good chance.

“Added to his level of ability is his competitiveness, his willingness to do the extras and to run the hard yards. He is a great team-mate, he respects others. That’s what you get with Phil.”

Foden’s England journey has only just begun, but the midfielder has already spoken of how much he is looking forward to being part of the national team set-up, which boasts an exciting crop of youngsters.

WATCH: TrueView: Foden's first Premier League goal

And Wilcox is in no doubt that the young man from Stockport will continue to do all the right things to give himself the best chance of enjoying a long and fruitful career in an England jersey.

“Phil has done exactly what we expected him to do and that is fulfil his huge potential,” he said.

“But let’s not get carried away, he has still got a long way to go. He wants to achieve more.

"He will want 100 appearances for England. He will want to score as many goals as he possibly can.

“He is extremely driven and he won’t become complacent and that is why the top players get to the top, because they are constantly pushing the boundaries.

“With his family and where he is now, with the first team staff and players, he is in the right place.”

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