Mens Team

Guardiola faith giving Foden England confidence

Guardiola faith giving Foden England confidence
Phil Foden says Pep Guardiola’s patient approach to his fledgling career means he is ready to grasp the opportunity of his first England call-up.

The Manchester City midfielder will fulfil a childhood dream if Gareth Southgate hands him his debut against Iceland or Denmark in the upcoming UEFA Nations League games and feels his experience at club level has left him well prepared for the challenge of international football.

Foden reaped the rewards of Guardiola’s careful management last season and repaid the boss’ faith with some exceptional performances.

A man of the match display in the Carabao Cup final was followed by an impressive run after the Premier League restart, meaning Foden has joined the Three Lions camp full of confidence.

“A lot of people have been pushing to play in the senior team much earlier, but I haven’t played a lot of games at City,” he said at his first England press conference.

“Recently I have been playing a lot more and doing well so I have had to work hard for the opportunity and now I have got it I’m just trying to give the best I can do and enjoy it.

“I have played in some massive games this year, like cup finals and big Champions League games. They are the games everyone wants to play in.

“Sometimes it is difficult for a young player to play in those games, but I think he's [Guardiola] been patient with me and played me at the right times. I’m learning a lot and I feel ready to go.”

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Foden’s readiness means he is not content to merely be part of the squad during his first involvement in the senior set-up.

He wants to play and is hoping Southgate will reward him with a debut.

Having already achieved his aim of playing and winning silverware with City, the boyhood Blue now wants the same at international level so he can live out the dreams he had as a youngster playing on the streets of Stockport.

“When I was younger, every kid on the estate used to dream of playing for England and pretending they were players,” he recalled.

“Now I’m in the senior team it feels crazy. It has not really sank in. I used to think of myself playing in the team.

“Now to be here, it is a real moment. I’m just hoping I get the chance to play and the dream will come true.”

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If and where Southgate might use Foden remains to be seen.

City’s No.47 is one of seven midfielders in the squad, but proved his versatility last term with good performances in more advanced positions out wide.

He views his adaptability as a strength, but admits his preferred role is central midfield and he is hoping the departure of David Silva can provide more opportunities for him in the City engine room.

“My favourite position is central midfield,” he added.

“That’s the position where I see myself, but I have enjoyed playing off the left and right and sometimes as a false nine and scoring goals.

“It is something I can do. I feel like I’m a flexible player so I have been enjoying it. No matter where I play, I know I can do a job there.

“There are a lot of midfielders still and a lot of quality in the team. He’s [Guardiola] not just going to give me that position easily. Everyone has to train well and play well.

“It depends on me, if I am playing good enough I’ll get the shirt.”

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