Guardiola Expected ‘Special’ Foden’s Rise

Guardiola Expected ‘Special’ Foden’s Rise

Pep Guardiola recognised Phil Foden was destined for stardom the day he arrived at Manchester City. The highly-rated 18-year-old academy graduate further underlined his huge potential with the winning goal in title-chasing City’s tense but crucial 1-0 victory over Tottenham on Saturday.

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Foden has been spoken of in glowing terms at City for some time but his introduction to the first team, due to an abundance of quality in the squad, has been gradual. Just two of his 12 Premier League appearances this season have been starts but the decision to field him from the beginning against Spurs – in such an important game and in place of David Silva – was potentially significant.

“This guy is special,” said City manager Guardiola, who took over three years ago this summer. “From the first time I saw him, when I just landed here, (director of football) Txiki (Begiristain) told me, ‘You have to meet one player, 15 or 16 years old’.

“In the first season he came to training sessions one day, two days and I said, ‘Wow, you are right Txiki, this player is good’. “But with young players you have to be careful. As quick you go up, as quick you go down. “Sometimes you have to handle those situations but we don’t have any doubts. Every time he played he was a stunner, he was top.

He has the level to be a Manchester City player and it is not easy to play in those teams, the big teams. “I see him every day in training sessions. He has something special. I have seen many players as a player and as a manager and this guy has something difficult to find.”

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