Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden has been called up to the England Under-21 squad for the first time. The 18-year-old has been in sublime form for club and country. Despite making a few appearances for the City first team, he has distinguished himself as a truly special talent with manager Pep Guardiola extolling his virtues.
His latest outing was in the Carabao Cup where he scored his first goal for the senior team to cap a 3-0 win. He also had a hand in all of City’s three goals on the night. Oxford United manager Karl Robinson while speaking after the game compared the young player to the legendary Andrés Iniesta.
Robinson once masterminded a 4-0 win over Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United four years ago when in charge of MK Dons, but was in awe of the youngster’s ability on the night as he was instrumental to his team’s annihilation.
It would be recalled that Foden was voted most valuable player and awarded the Golden Ball in the Under-17 World Cup in 2017. His goals and overall contribution helped the team to lift the trophy for the first time in the tournament’s history.
The City starlet will join several other young players like Arsenal forward Reiss Nelson who is currently out on loan at Hoffenheim and Leicester City midfielder Harvey Barnes, who is on loan at West Brom in the Championship.
He will be in line to feature in this month’s final two Euro 2019 qualifying matches against Andorra and Scotland. England are on top of group four and need only a point from the two games to reach next year’s event in Italy and San Marino.
At 18, the City academy graduate is making an early entrance into the Under-21s. But that speaks to his quality and maturity on the pitch. It will not be a surprise to see him also receive an early call-up to the senior national team if he continues developing at this rate.
Guardiola on his part has promised to give Foden more playing time to facilitate his development. Playing under the Catalan, who is renowned for getting the best out of his players, could be the best thing to happen to the young man as well.
Fellow academy graduates like Jadon Sancho who plays for Borussia Dortmund may feel fortunate to be enjoying regular first-team football after leaving Man City, but Foden has by no means gotten the short end of the stick. The high level education in the game he is getting under the serial-winning manager will definitely benefit his career in the long run both for club and country.
Full England Under-21 squad
Defenders: Fikayo Tomori (Derby County, on loan from Chelsea), Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham Hotspur), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Crystal Palace) Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Jake Clarke-Salter (Vitesse Arnhem, on loan from Chelsea), Dael Fry (Middlesbrough), Jonjoe Kenny (Everton), Ezri Konsa (Brentford)
Midfielders: Tom Davies (Everton), Kieran Dowell (Everton), Josh Onomah (Sheffield Wednesday, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur) Harvey Barnes (West Bromwich Albion, on loan from Leicester City), Lewis Cook (AFC Bournemouth)
Forwards: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Ademola Lookman (Everton), Reiss Nelson (Hoffenheim, on loan from Arsenal), Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham), Dominic Solanke (Liverpool) Tammy Abraham (Aston Villa, on loan from Chelsea), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)