Phil Foden has been carefully managed by Pep Guardiola in the last few seasons and this has started to pay dividends. Foden has started to bridge that gap from a young player with potential to being an excellent player.
Foden is an accomplished and enigmatic footballer, our very own ready made David Silva replacement. He has a rare touch and control – a kind of poise on the ball, coupled with a vision and speed of thought, which allows him to find and carve passes under pressure. Guardiola has carefully stage managed his introduction to the Manchester City first team, and accordingly Foden seems capable of making this transition.
His goal against Spurs at home just when we needed it most was a clear sign in point. He is capable of stepping into the side and immediately making an impact. The biggest compliment we can pay to him is to say when he plays for our great team, he does not seem out of place.
So, City are carefully wrapping him in cotton wool and then we send him off to play for the Under 21 side under the insipid management of Aidy Boothroyd. I don’t want to criticise Boothroyd too much, but its a mighty long way from Guardiola to Boothroyd in the coaching stakes. He is a man whose career highlight was with Watford in 2006.
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Foden should not be in the England Under 21 side at all. He should be in the full side as he is exactly the kind of midfielder England simply do not have. Southgate should be using this Summer to set out his stall for the future and to build his side around. Yet, Southgate has none of that courage and instead wants to squeeze as many central defenders into his team as possible.
And Foden is trapped in the Under 21s and despite being clearly the best player in the side, found himself dropped to the bench for the game against Romania. This all left me quite angry – what are England doing with Foden? They are just oblivious to his talent and focussed on some nonsense about game time.
The argument keeps being repeated by the pundits that Foden should leave City and go and play first team football somewhere else. This is just nonsense. Foden has an equivalent amount of starts to Beckham at this age and that seems to be ok in terms of career development.
I am hoping Foden can return home early from the Under 21s and get some deserved rest because despite his poor treatment by the England set up, I expect him to be a key player for City next season.