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Is Phil Foden Better Off on Loan?

Young English starlet has played few minutes this campaign.

England v Kosovo - UEFA European U21 2021 Championship Qualifier Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

A bright future in the game is expected for Phil Foden. The youngster made his name in the game by helping England lift the U17 World Cup in 2017. He was the star man in a talented team that took the world by storm. Another player that was in the starting line-up for the final was Callum Hudson-Odoi. The Chelsea youngster has since been thrust into the limelight as one of the stars of the future for the London club. Even Bayern Munich recognised his potential to be a game changer and sought to sign him last summer. Chelsea held firm.

Fearing they could lose him, he was granted his wish to play regularly in the first team. That led directly to a place in the national team as well. There he met another young Englishman who (coincidentally) had left Manchester City in search of regular first team football - Jadon Sancho.

The City Academy graduate achieved his goal at Borussia Dortmund which also drew Gareth Southgate’s attention.

Foden is as talented, if not more than either of these players. Yet, the 19-year-old has to settle for a place in the nation’s U21 side.

Of course, that is not bad in itself. Just that he could also be on the biggest stage if he was playing regularly at club level. But what player in the world not named Lionel Messi can displace either Kevin De Bruyne or David Silva in the City midfield? The Belgian is easily a Ballon d’Or contender when fit. Silva isn’t far behind. The duo also bring tremendous experience to the table that Foden will need several years of regular first-team football to acquire.

That’s exactly why he may need to go out on loan. Regular first-team football at a top league will do him a world of good. At a time when young English players are doing well in Germany, a loan move to a club there could be very beneficial. Clubs like RB Leipzig, Hoffenheim and Schalke are good.

A move to one of City’s sister clubs is another option.

Steven Gerrard was recently quoted in the media to have stated his desire to take the player on loan at Rangers. The Liverpool legend stopped short of that claiming he knows Guardiola will not let the player go. But does the Catalan really need Foden?

Even with the long-term injuries suffered by the likes of Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane, he will still not be needed. And if there’s a need in midfield, players like Ilkay Gundogan and Fernandinho will provide adequate backup. Assuming the latter is drafted into the defence line to cover for Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko will be freed up by the return of Benjamin Mendy.

The Ukrainian has been in superb form so far both for club and country. He played in his preferred midfield position during the International break and was on the score sheet against Nigeria. That puts him ahead of Foden as an extra body in midfield.

Of course, at some point the Englishman will feature especially in the Cup games. Just that he is unlikely to get sufficient playing time to keep him at the top of his game.

A January loan move to a club where he can play regularly will put him in better shape to feature prominently for City come next season. David Silva is set to depart at the end of the campaign. Foden will be the man to take his place alongside Bernardo Silva. He needs to be ready.