Phil Foden: One for the Future

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06: Phil Foden of Manchester City, teenager takes his seat on the bench during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Manchester City FC and Celtic FC at Etihad Stadium on December 6, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 06: Phil Foden of Manchester City, teenager takes his seat on the bench during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between Manchester City FC and Celtic FC at Etihad Stadium on December 6, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images) /
HOUSTON, TX – JULY 20: Phil Foden
HOUSTON, TX – JULY 20: Phil Foden /

Manchester City fans will have surely learned who the 17-year-old youngster, Phil Foden, is by now, even though the hype comes only after one preseason match. Nevertheless, the preseason game was against Manchester United of all clubs and he put in a performance that was on another level; I’m certainly on the Foden hype train. Our manager also had something special to say about Foden’s performance:

"“It’s a long time since I saw something like this. His performance was another level. He’s 17-years-old, he’s a City player.”"

Pep does love young talent, although there have been many who have criticized him for going out and buying talent rather than using what we have here at Manchester City. Phil Foden is one who surely could break through into the first team this coming season or the next. With no true center midfielders on our radar at the moment, and a couple looking to head out the door (including Nasri, Fernando, Delph, etc.), could this be Foden’s moment to shine? Let’s step back and analyse Foden and his performance and what he could offer to Manchester City this coming season and the future potentially.

Foden’s Style of Play:

Recently been called the “Stockport Iniesta,” Foden is only a 17 year old and has already impressed City’s Academy and recently for the first team in the preseason friendly against United.

Foden’s been a City player since the young age at 8 and since then has displayed tremendous balance, strength, and menace for a player his size. What stands out is his ability to read the game so well, showing tremendous creativity at times and overall just having a brilliant soccer brain. I can’t act like I myself am a common viewer of EDS and City Academy matches. However, from what I have seen, Foden is David Silva-esque with his dribbling ability, being able to glide past players and is tremendously accurate with his passing. It’s not only on the ball that he is brilliant, but what also stands out is his movement and awareness off of the ball. His ability, movement off the ball, and awareness to pop up in pockets of spaces are crucial to the build up of our attacking play, and his movement also creates space and opportunities for other players.

Following the performance this past week, Foden had this to say about a certain City player:

"“He’s my idol really. I try and watch what he does and learn from him and try and do the same things.” (Sky Sports)"

Who is he speaking about? None other than our own David Silva. While Foden is 14 years younger than Silva, it might not be much longer until Foden is able to fill in for the longtime City star. This past season, Silva only played the full 90 in about half of his EPL appearances. Clearly, his age is starting to take a toll. This is not to say Foden is ready to take over, but rather, that Silva could act as Foden’s mentor. Having already played against a star-studded team in Manchester United, and potentially lining up against Real Madrid and Tottenham, Foden could make a real case for first team selection this summer.

Manchester City has not had an Academy graduate since Micah Richards to make a real impact, and City fans are surely hoping Foden could be the next.

Related Story: Do we see any academy products this year?

Foden’s Performance against United

After seeing City’s lineup, I was extremely excited to see the likes of Patrick Roberts, Phil Foden, and Tosin Adarabioyo on the pitch against United. I’ll admit at first I was very focused on seeing how much Kyle Walker would improve our flow of play (and he did brilliantly), however, after seeing one of Foden’s spins and his control of the ball, I was immediately drawn in and wanted to see him get more touches.

Around the 10 minute mark, there is a great example of this. He receives a pass from Kyle Walker while facing him, quickly turns with the ball, feints one direction to sidestep Pogba and rips a low, driven shot that just misses. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but the pace at which he was able to turn with the ball while maintaining his balance and fluidity of the game was simply fantastic. The same thing happened around the 12th minute when he turns past Herrera.

Another clip that stood out was around the 40th minute in a quick interchange with Yaya Toure. Foden receives a driven pass from Kompany; it wasn’t an easy one either as it had a lot of pace and wasn’t bouncing off of the pitch. Knowing that Pogba was right on his back, Foden played it first time back to Toure, and proceeded to swiftly move off the ball and create space for himself; this paid off as he received the ball back and had plenty of space to create an opportunity for himself, and did. He took the space wisely and unleashed a venomous strike that De Gea was just able to get to. This is what you can expect to see from Foden. His vision and field awareness is just on another level, and I hope to see more of it in our match against Real Madrid.

Foden’s silky skills and style of play, vision, and soccer IQ should render him a very bright future.

For those interested in looking at Foden’s individual performance against United, click on this link.

Phil Foden’s performance by numbers (@PhilFoden on Twitter)

  1. 98% Passing Accuracy (!)
  2. 25 chances created
  3. 88 forward passes
  4. 14 key passes

What others are saying about his performance: 

– Carli Lloyd

"“Great shift from @PhilFoden. Bright future!!” (@CarliLloyd)"

– Jonathan Smith

"“Phil Foden’s 1st appearance for 1st team. Very talented and a lot of buzz about his potential. Could be first to properly make it from CFA.” (@jonnysmiffy)"

– Paul Dickov

"“@PhilFoden has been immense for @ManCity #ManchesterDerby” (@OfficialPDickov)"

– Pep Guardiola

"“Phil Foden is going to play in the next games. He has quality to play in that team. I’m so happy to have him. He’s a Mancunian, a City Fan, a humble guy. He’s a fighter. He looks skinny but he’s a strong guy.” (Daily Mail)"

(Video clip) Aguero declares his love for Phil Foden.