Manchester City

Forget Foden: Pep Guardiola should integrate unproven 21-year-old into City’s first-team

The Manchester City fans were celebrating in the Transfer Tavern this weekend after their side lifted the Premier League trophy at the Etihad Stadium at the end of a frustrating afternoon which saw them draw 0-0 against a resilient Huddersfield side. 

It’s been close to the perfect season for Pep Guardiola’s side who will end the campaign with two trophies to show for their imperious efforts. The Champions League trophy may have eluded them, but with the full-return of Benjamin Mendy on the horizon and further signings expected this summer, it seems likely that it could be their year next time round.

One of City’s well-documented side stories this season has been the rise of Phil Foden from virtually an unknown academy player to a World Cup winner and BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year Award winner during a whirlwind year for the youngster. Aside from his personal accolades, Foden has been knocking on the door for a place in City’s starting eleven as he has appeared on 9 occasions this season, albeit mostly as a substitute.

Plenty is expected of the Stockport-born wonderkid who appears destined for a huge future in English football based on his cameo appearances thus far, but he still has plenty to learn before he can harbour realistic expectations of holding down a first-team spot. Whether Guardiola will send Foden out on loan next season remains to be seen; on the one hand he would benefit from regular first-team football, whilst on the other, the Spanish manager will be eager for him to train with the first-team where he can monitor his development and act as his personal mentor.

Regardless of what Guardiola decides to do with Foden, he should strongly consider introducing Patrick Roberts into the first-team next season. At 21-years-of-age, Roberts has first-team experience from his loan spell at Celtic to bring to the table and, although he has spent the vast majority of the season on the sideline through injury, his performances for the Bhoys suggest he could be capable of making the step up in class next season.

Roberts possesses a natural technical ability which is bound to impress Guardiola and force him to consider including him in his 25-man squad next season. There are doubts over whether he is up to the standard required at the Etihad as he is unproven in the Premier League, but based on his performances in the SPFL, he deserves a chance to grow with the club and prove his credentials through first-team opportunities.

There’s absolutely no doubt that Guardiola views Foden as an integral component of his long-term plan at the club, but City have another gem waiting to be unearthed in the shape of Roberts, so he should be integrated into the first-team next season when his loan deal at Celtic reaches its conclusion.

Man City fans – thoughts? Let us know below!

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