Manchester City

Opinion: If Sterling doesn’t renew, Pep should make Phil Foden a first team regular

Despite an opening day goal from Raheem Sterling, the Englishman’s Man City career has come under the microscope after comments from Pep Guardiola. The Spaniard is seeking a resolution regarding Sterling’s long-term future, according to Sky Sports, and in reaffirming the sentiment that he ‘counts’ on Sterling – the manager has perhaps indicated that contract talks haven’t been smooth so far.

Naturally, then, given that his contract expires in 2020, it would be foolish of the Citizens to not at least consider the prospect of him leaving the club.

That looks unlikely in the short-term, at least, but preparing for the future has been crucial at the Etihad in recent years, and so repeating that again makes sense.

Fortunately, if Sterling were to leave, Man City could already have the perfect replacement on their books. Attacking midfielders are not in short supply at the Etihad, and that extends right through to the youth ranks, and the Sky Blues would struggle to find a better solution to a potential Sterling departure than in the form of Phil Foden.

Foden has emerged as one of Pep Guardiola’s projects at the Etihad, with the Spaniard clearly favouring the quality of the young English midfielder. He made a handful of appearances last season, and he started for City in the Community Shield against Chelsea – and that top-level experience will put him in good stead for the Citizens long-term.

An attacking midfielder by trade, Foden is able to play across the attack, owing to the incredible quality that he possesses. He’s got tremendous technical ability, and that allows him to dribble and keep control of the ball with relative ease. Furthermore, he’s also adept at passing, and he’s often been the main man pulling the strings throughout his time in the Man Cty developmental system. Given the reliance on the pass-and-move system at Old Trafford, that ability is important. Naturally, he’s also quick and tricky in typical City fashion – and his style of play certainly wouldn’t go amiss at the Etihad.

There are also other factors to consider. He’s very young, at just 18-years-old, and whilst he’s clearly not yet at the required level, there is definite scope for tremendous improvement over the coming years. A few years under Pep Guardiola could be tremendous, and the manager is yet to have that sort of player to truly mould in his image since moving to the Etihad.

Significantly, he’s also homegrown. Though perhaps not an immediate factor to consider, it is important, as his presence in the squad would – like Raheem Sterling – would allow the club to have an extra foreign player – and more bodies in the squad are never a bad thing.

It might be easier for the club to take any potential investment brought in by the potential sale of Sterling and reinvest that, but in Foden, they have the perfect option at a fraction of the cost. Thereafter, funds could be placed into an area with less quality waiting in the shadows.

Man City fans – thoughts?
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