Phil Foden is quickly emerging as a golden boy for Manchester City and a future superstar for the club. The youngster has already demonstrated his quality at international level. Having represented England at three different youth levels, he has been a cut above average.
With 14 goals scored in 33 appearances for the youth sides ranging from the U16, U17 and U18, the breakout star is writing his name in gold as he is gradually becoming a hotshot for the club as well.
He was the starman in the England under-17s as the Three Lions made history by winning the FIFA U17 World Cup for the first time in the country’s history in 2017. His two goals in the competition’s final secured the trophy as he emerged the golden ball winner as the tournament’s best player.
The Stockport born youngster has been part of the youth setup at Manchester City since 2009. He has grown in stature and class over the years as he gets ready to excel at his beloved club, a club he has supported from childhood.
His rise to fame however, has coincided with Pep Guardiola taking over the reigns at Man City. The Catalan said of the player during pre-season tour of the United States in 2017: “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, he grew up in the academy, he loves the club, he’s a City fan and for us he’s a gift.”
If there is one manager that can spot an exceptional talent in the game from a distance, it has to be Pep Guardiola. You only need to look at his Barcelona days and how he unearthed the midfield trio of Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez to fully appreciate his ability.
His valuation of the young midfielder can only mean something similar. So highly rated is the player to him that despite being only 17, he was not allowed to leave the club even on loan in the tremendously successful 2017/18 campaign. Foden made only five first team appearances for the season in the Premier League, but they were enough to earn him a Premier League winner’s medal. That made him the youngest player ever to be so awarded.
For sure, the skillful midfielder is not the only youngster in the squad. Lukas Nmecha and Brahim Diaz are other hot prospects for the future that the manager fancies. But he is uniquely different from the rest. So good is he that he was named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year for 2017. This, even when he is yet to cement his place in the team as a regular.
A versatile midfielder who can play anywhere in midfield, the young Englishman can also operate as a winger. He was even utilized as a left back last season and still gave a good account of himself. Standing at 5 ft 7, he possesses good dribbling skills, superb close control and an eye for goal that reminds one of a young Lionel Messi.
He started in the team that put Chelsea to the sword on Sunday in the Community Shield and provided the assist for Sergio Aguero’s first goal of the encounter. But this was not the first time as he had also provided the Argentine with an assist in one of his five league appearances. That was in his PL debut against Tottenham last December.
Comfortable on the ball, he displayed maturity beyond his years as the Sky Blues ran away with an equally comfortable 2-0 win to set the tone for the new campaign.
He went on to receive his third medal in a calendar year. With these come greater confidence to dish out even more scintillating displays. With Guardiola in charge, Foden may just develop into another world class superstar reminiscent of a Xavi Hernandez or an Andrés Iniesta.
Together with Diaz, we may just have our very own midfield maestros ready to dominate Europe for years to come with Foden as the starman, of course.