Soccer

Guardiola says Foden is the most talented 17-year-old he has coached

Pep Guardiola lavishes more praise on Manchester City starlet Phil Foden and insists he had ‘never seen a player with this potential’ when wonderkid caught the eye aged just 17 – but admits ‘the best is Messi, first’

  • Pep Guardiola has lavished praise again on Manchester City starlet Phil Foden 
  • Foden has enjoyed another fine season and cemented his spot as a key player 
  • Guardiola once said that Foden was the player with the most potential aged 17 
  • City boss has doubled down on his stance and detailed Foden’s desire to play 

Pep Guardiola has once again lavished praise on Manchester City wonderkid Phil Foden and admitted his limitless potential was evident aged just 17.

Foden has enjoyed a superb season at City, helping them win the Premier League, the Carabao Cup and also reach the Champions League final, and, at just 20 years of age, is also set to play at Euro 2020 with England.

His rapid rise through the ranks and into the first-team has propelled him into stardom, and Rio Ferdinand chose to ask City boss Guardiola about the prodigy during their interview this week.

Pep Guardiola has lavished praise on Manchester City starlet Phil Foden after his stellar season

Foden is already a three-time Premier League champion and will also feature at Euro 2020

Guardiola memorably labelled Foden as ‘the most talented player’ he has ‘ever seen’ before the 2019/20 campaign, and has now partially doubled down on that stance. 

Ferdinand quizzed the wily coach over what he had meant by the statement, especially considering he oversaw Lionel Messi’s development at Barcelona.  

‘Well, the best is Messi, first,’ Guardiola said.

Guardiola coached Lionel Messi but believes Foden held the most potential at the age of 17

‘Second, I didn’t meet Leo Messi at 17-years-old like I met Phil (Foden), and that age, I’ve never seen a player with this potential. 

‘But you have to see it on the pitch and on the biggest stages.’

Foden has netted 16 goals and recorded 10 assists in his 49 appearances across all competitions this term, and he will look to add another trophy to his already-bustling collection by helping City beat Chelsea in Porto. 

A three-time Premier League champion, Foden has cemented his spot in City’s team – and Guardiola was quick to laud his ability to bounce back from mistakes. 

Speaking to Rio Ferdinand, Guardiola went into detail about Foden’s ability to bounce back

‘He’s comfortable. He loves to play,’ Guardiola added. ‘When this happens, you have to protect him. He’s a guy who makes mistakes but he’s forgotten (them). The most important part for a football player is the head. 

‘He’s forgotten in one instance, one second. He thinks about the next one. The game against Borussia Dortmund at home, he missed three chances. Do you know who scored? It was him. I had the feeling, he’s 20 years old.’

Earlier this month, Michael Owen tipped Foden and Chelsea forward Mason Mount to go on to be ‘two of the best players in the world’ and the youngster has continued to live up to his lofty billing.

Foden has been ‘demanding’ to play, according to Guardiola, after becoming a first-team star

As a result, he has pleaded with Guardiola for more game time, according to the City boss himself.

‘Now Phil is demanding things from the manager,’ said Guardiola. ‘Before, he’d play 25 minutes, and he’d be happy. Half time, happy. Play in the Carabao Cup, he’s happy. 

‘Now, next season, if I don’t play him in the Champions League you’ll see what happens. He proved he can do it.’ 




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