Men's Team

Phil Foden: Champions in Focus

In the wake of City’s 2021/22 Premier League title, our 'Champions in Focus' series shines the spotlight on each member of Pep Guardiola's squad.

A fourth Premier League success in five seasons was sealed on a dramatic final day, as we overcame Aston Villa 3-2 to clinch the crown.

Once again, our domestic dominance proved to be very much a collective effort with every member of Pep’s talented squad playing their own special role.

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Today, we look towards Academy product and England international Phil Foden.

SEASON STATS

Appearances (all competitions): 45

Goals: 14

Assists: 11

Premier League appearances: 28

Cumulative minutes: 3,184

SEASON HIGHLIGHT

1-0 down in a breathless second half against title rivals Liverpool at Anfield, Foden received the ball in the box.

Stepping in from his left-wing position, Foden’s angle for a shot on goal was diminishing with every passing moment.

Gabriel Jesus’ fine work on the right to set up the chance had bought him time and stand-in Liverpool right-back James Milner was largely out of the picture.

However, with the pressure on and one of the world’s best goalkeepers staring him down, the England international found the net just inside the far post.

It was the only way Foden could have scored from the position he was in, and his execution was inch perfect.

There was more drama to follow, with Mo Salah and Kevin De Bruyne both scoring in the final 15 minutes.

Having gone behind in a fixture in which we had been on top, at the end of a week that saw us face Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, it’s perhaps hard to overstate how important that point was in terms of giving Pep Guardiola’s side the confidence to go on and win the league.

OVERVIEW

At just 22, Foden now has four Premier League titles to his name. In his 169 City appearances, he has scored 45 times and laid on 33 assists for his team-mates.

As David Clayton writes, the playmaker ‘continues to push the boundaries and become ever more indispensable to Pep Guardiola with each passing season’.

He featured in 45 of City’s 58 matches in 2021/22, with injuries preventing him from playing more, and is relied upon in the biggest of matches.

The Academy product played in every match against Liverpool and Chelsea, as well as in both legs of the Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.

His performance in the quarter-final second leg battle with Atletico Madrid, after taking a blow to the head early on, shows his heart.

With 0.67 non-penalty expected goals and assists over the last year, he has created or been on the end of at least three major chances in every four matches.

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His performances earned him the PFA Young Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Versatile, energetic and fuelled by a lifelong passion for his boyhood Club, Foden has now set his sights on winning the main award in the future.

WHAT THEY SAID

Txiki Begiristain: “Phil helps embody the quality, drive and determination of every single player here at Manchester City.

“He is a special player with a special talent, but one who always puts the team first and strives to be best he can be every single day.

"And to be recognised by his professional colleagues once again says everything about the way he is regarded by his peers.”

Pep Guardiola: “Phil can play in five positions up front. He can play in both attacking midfield [positions] in the pockets and he can play in three positions up front.

“There are players who play in one position and there are players who play football. Phil knows how to play football. If he played left back, he would play good.

“There are players who say I have play in this position, otherwise they don’t play football.

“Phil is an exceptional player. He can play everywhere, not yet, but he is so young, in time he will get it.”

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Shaun Goater: “In the next five years he’s challenging for the Ballon d'Or. He affects games every time he plays.

“I like Phil when he’s central, his dribbling qualities come to the fore. When he’s wide he plays the role for the team and keeps that width. He pirouettes, dribbles and does all sorts.

“Him seeing everything from a little lad walking out when he was a mascot, I’m seeing a kid who’s confident.

“He’s playing with world class players, it ticks all the boxes, this club - this is the direction it wants to go in.”

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