Champions The best player in the schoolyard

When Phil Foden stuck his head out for the first team manchester cityat press conferences Pep Guardiola the same question always came up. When a fixed position in the starting eleven for the youth squad. The technician asked for patience. All in due time from him. Calm and good food. Logical, taking into account the size of the entity and the age of the footballer. At the age of 17, he saw how another product of the sky-blue quarry went to the Bundesliga looking for more minutes, and finding them. However, the signing of Jadon Sancho by Borussia Dortmund did not alter the plan that Guardiola had for the young Fodenabout whom he had been told wonders.

The question was diluted as the Catalan counted more and more on Stockport. He still wears a youth squad number, 47, but Phil Foden is more than settled in the locker room citizen. Don’t let it fool you. Neither does his physique. Despite his height and weight, it is difficult to snatch the ball from the boy. He is fast. Both with the feet and with the head. Watching him play on the grass, anyone can imagine him beating rivals in the schoolyard or haggling in the streets of his town. He looks like a child, but he is starting to be one of the important men, not only in Manchester City, but also in his country.. “If he continues to develop as he is he could become the best English player in history,” former centre-back Joleon Lescott said during the British television broadcast of the match.

After beating Atlético de Madrid last night, most of the praise went to Foden. One minute of the game was enough to change it. He was entrenched in City. He couldn’t find a way to pierce the mattress defense and his only outbursts came with long shots and balls hanging into the area. Vision, intelligence and quality. One, two and three. That’s how he received from Rodrigo, that’s how he started towards the rival area and that’s how he offered the ball to a teammate at the right moment. He changing the ball on foot, moving like a shell. Now you see the ball, now you don’t. Four players were on top of the Englishman, but he found Kevin De Bruyne at the right moment. With space and already stepping on the area, the Belgian did not forgive. The Etihad celebrated it, Guardiola exploded and the bottle of water that he threw on the ground after the goal. Finally!

“He had the ball glued to his foot,” former footballer Dion Dublin exclaimed on BBC radio after the match. “He is always looking forward with a positive attitude. When he came out, his teammates started to draw diagonals”. Another who also highlighted the performance of the young midfielder was Owen Hargreaves, former Manchester United, Manchester City and Bayern Munich among others: “He is a unique player, and he is still at the beginning of his career”. “Phil was brilliant,” his coach Pep Guardiola also said. “He has a special quality with which to change games. His space and his first steps were important, and then he had the composure to find Kevin.”