Having won five Premier League titles, two FA Cup crowns, Four League Cups, the Champions League trophy and even the U-17 World Cup, Phil Foden is one of the most decorated players in the world at the moment. Yet, the England international is just getting started as he clocks 23.
Foden has had to bide his time waiting for his turn to become a mainstay in the team with Pep Guardiola using him sparingly in the last several years. Initially, he was expected to go out on loan in order to get enough playing time. Many thought that would be better for his development.
But Guardiola decided to keep him in the first team. That proved to be the right decision. Foden has now developed into one of the best players in the world. As was expected, Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland were the main characters in the team last term, leading the club to unprecedented success.
However, De Bruyne's injury early into the season that will keep him out for a significant part of the campaign leaves a gaping hole in the midfield that needs to be filled. Evidence from the last two games shows there's no better player in the squad to fill that gap than Foden.
The team battled to secure two important victories in the last couple of games. A hard-fought 1-0 win against Newcastle United at the Etihad Stadium was followed by another tight encounter against Sheffield United away at Bramall Lane. Phil Foden played a significant role in each win, helping to set up the winning goal.
It's the kind of impact one would expect from Kevin De Bruyne if he was in the team. So while the Belgian midfielder's injury is rather unfortunate, it could become the perfect opportunity for Foden to step up and become a key driver of the team's progress.
Guardiola raised some eyebrows years ago when he stated that Foden was the most talented player he has ever worked with. For a manager who has coached some of the best talents in world football, many of whom have become legends in the game; people like Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez in Barcelona and the likes of Philip Lahm and Joshua Kimmich in Bayern Munich, that is a huge statement to make.
But whenever asked, the manager has insisted that in terms of pure talent, Foden ranks number one. The time has come to put him in prime position in the team. Both Haaland and Julian Alvarez would need service to rack up the numbers that will see the Blues achieve their goals for the season. In the number 10 role, the England international can become the main creator in the team.
He scored 11 times and made five assists in 22 starts last season. Proving he can also be relied upon for goals.
Struggling to open up opposition defences in the last two games has shown that the team needs a player with similar characteristics to De Bruyne.
Although City did finally secure the three points at stake against Sheffield United, the game could have easily ended in dropped points after the home side equalised late into the encounter. Moving forward, the lesson is to finish off games as soon as possible by scoring more.
Foden can be a key asset in this regard.