The Manchester City fans are feeling supremely confident in the Transfer Tavern ahead of their second leg fixture against FC Basel this evening.
Pep Guardiola’s side took a decisive step towards the quarter finals of the Champions League three weeks ago as they recorded a 4-0 victory over FC Basel at St. Jakob Park. Considering the extent of City’s lead and their recent form going into the second-leg, it would be one of the greatest footballing miracles of all time if Basel were to somehow overturn their first-leg deficit this evening. With that being said, Guardiola would be wise to rotate his squad tonight and lend a handful of his fringe players an opportunity to impress against the travelling Swiss outfit.
One player who deserves a first-team call-up tonight is Phil Foden (valued at £4.5 million by Transfermarkt), one of City’s most promising academy products. Very little was known about the Stockport-born 17-year old this time last year, but fast-forward 12 months and Foden is now one of the nations most highly-regarded young talents. The sparing manner in which Guardiola has used Foden this year suggests the Spaniard is eager to introduce him into the team, but at a pace which allows him to stay clear of the spotlight of the British media.
Technically, Foden oozes class on the ball, as naturally left-footed players often do. Although it is perhaps a little premature to be comparing City’s academy product to some of the clubs more experienced talents, it’s fair to say his style of play is rather synonymous with that of Leroy Sane. And despite the fact Sane almost single-handedly tore Arsenal apart at The Emirates Stadium last Thursday, he should be dropped to the bench today in favour of the inexperienced Foden.
The fixture against Basel this evening represents a perfect opportunity for Guardiola to hand Foden another chance to impress in the first-team, as the tie is all but over and Sane would benefit from a rest after only recently recovering from injury. Chances to rest first-team players will become few and far between during the final weeks of the season, so Guardiola should use this rare opportunity wisely tonight and hand one of City’s future stars another chance to impress at the Etihad Stadium.