It would be understandable if Phil Foden has been feeling pangs of jealousy this season. He has had to watch contemporaries like Jadon Sancho and Mason Mount tear it up for Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea and England while he’s barely had a look in.
James Maddison was called up by Gareth Southgate while Phil was with the under-21s, and last week Mason Greenwood became the toast of Manchester United with his first goal for the club.
Meanwhile, Foden has only 11 minutes for Manchester City this season. Even if he plays against Preston in the League Cup on Tuesday, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were people whispering in his ear, suggesting he pushes for a January loan so he gets enough game-time to impress Southgate and develop his career.
Phil Foden must bide his time and avoid a quick-fix loan in January at all costs
The irony is that in 99 per cent of cases I’d also urge Foden to go out and play. It has worked for Sancho who was brave enough to leave City and join Borussia Dortmund. Last season’s loan spell at Derby has done wonders for Mount, ditto Tammy Abraham at Aston Villa.
And yet, I believe Foden is the exception to the rule. He is a special, special player and in his case, I’d suggest the best thing would be to stay close to Pep Guardiola because I believe the City manager has a clear plan.
In the short term, it seems hard. But looking at the bigger picture, I can see Foden becoming the stand-out player of his generation.
It’s important the kids play and Jadon Sancho is an example of how quickly they can progress
I think in 12 months time he may be a permanent fixture in the City starting line-up because I think they will trust in him rather than splash out £70million looking for a replacement for David Silva, who is in his final season.
I’m sure Guardiola is talking to Foden about the future and I think the player should trust his manager, even if it means missing Euro 2020. It’s his misfortune that getting into City’s midfield is probably the toughest job in football now, but Silva will go and Foden will come in, I believe.
He’s now 19 and entering a big period in his career. If by next September he’s still not getting games, a rethink may be called for, but not now. I believe if he were at other Big Six clubs, he’d already be a regular, it is just the competition at City is so fierce and requires a little more patience.
In terms of career progression, Sancho has gone past him for now. But I believe Foden will catch up and have a phenomenal career. In Pep, he must trust.
He may have only played 11 minutes but staying close to Pep Guardiola would be a smart idea