When David Silva announced he would leave Manchester City at the end of season fans questioned who could replace him. The answer to that question is academy graduate Phil Foden.
David Silva has been one of the greatest players to play in the Premier League since he arrived from Valencia in 2010. The Spanish midfielder has gone on to make 300 appearances and scoring 60 goals for City (all competitions). He has also won four Premier League titles in that time.
But has Pep Guardiola always had Foden lined up as his replacement? back in 2019 Pep stunned the world by saying; “I have said many times in press conferences, but maybe not said it in front of him, Phil is the most, most, most talented player I have ever seen in my career as a manager.” something that raised eyebrows, especially if your name is Lionel Messi.
But first let us rewind to where it all started for Foden. He first burst onto the scenes to fans outside of Manchester in the 2017 U-17 World Cup in India. England went on to beat Spain 5-2 in the final with Foden scoring twice. After the full-time whistle, he also received the Golden Ball award, which is given to the best player of the tournament.
Those performances had Man City fans asking “when will we see Foden in the first team?” The answer to that question was 24 days after the World Cup final as Foden made his competitive debut against Feyenoord in the Champions League.
In that 2017/18 season, Phil Foden went on to make 10 first-team appearances under manager Pep Guardiola. The majority of those appearances saw Foden come from the bench.
Over the next two seasons, Pep would hand Foden more first-team action.
19/20 season – 34 appearances – seven goals – nine assists (all competition) – still games yet to be played**
For neutral fans, it has been his performances since the restart that have stood out. Since the Premier League has resumed Foden has played seven games, scoring four and assisting one.
Only last month Pep told the press; “When David said it was his last year I told the board we have Phil, so we don’t have to invest.” he followed that up by saying; “In the next decade, or 15 years, he will be an outstanding player for us. I don’t have doubts.”
The most impressive thing for neutral fans is he is playing in a team of world-class superstars without looking out of place. At times he looks like the best player on the pitch which is incredible when you think De Bruyne, Aguero and Sterling are also there. His performance is his sides 4-0 demolition of Liverpool echoes this.
With the backing of one of the world’s best managers and the world-class talent around him, it feels like a new era has begun at the Etihad stadium.