Phil Foden has established himself as one of the most talented young players in English football in little over twelve months, and he continued to impress fans and pundits alike this week with an exceptional performance in the Carabao Cup.
Man City supporters have ironically dubbed Foden as the ‘Stockport Iniesta’ due to his classy ball-playing ability, but irony was replaced with brazen complimentary language on Tuesday evening as Oxford manager Karl Robinson drew parallels between the City prodigy and Barcelona’s treasured midfield maestro.
In terms of modern day midfielder comparisons, praise rarely comes as gargantuan as Robinson’s post-match comments and, in the heat of the moment, he was perhaps too awe-struck to deliver a fair verdict on proceedings.
Take nothing away from Foden, he simply oozed class from start to finish and he thoroughly deserved the praise which he received in rich abundance following City’s routine victory.
Foden (valued at £6.3 million by Transfermarkt) made a strong case to take the place of his multi-million pound teammates with his performance, and the quality he showcased has been admired by Martin Keown this week.
In his weekly column published by the Daily Mail, Keown stated: ‘I was at Manchester City’s Carabao Cup 3-0 win at Oxford on Tuesday night and Phil Foden was special.’
His first goal at senior level merely represented the icing on the cake for Foden to cap a complete display in which he assisted the assist for the opener and assisted Mahrez’s second with arguably the pass of the match.
The manner in which the wonderkid slotted his strike into the bottom-corner for City’s third goal exuded a feeling of superiority against League One opposition; it’s unlikely that the Oxford supporters will see many cleaner strikes at the Kassam Stadium this season.
For the first time in his senior career Foden played with the swagger of a player who merits his place at this level and, perhaps most importantly, believes that himself.
Keown went on to add: ‘Pep Guardiola wants him there for the next 10 years because he bleeds City. The blood of the club pumps through his veins.’
And on the basis of his midweek performance, there’s no doubt that Guardiola won’t be the only man in Manchester begging him to remain at the Etihad Stadium for the next ten years.
Providing he remains injury free this season there is no doubt that he will become increasingly important in a star-studded City squad, and Gareth Southgate will be watching his development with a keen eye ahead of Euro 2020.
Foden had more or less captured the hearts of the Citizens faithful prior to his standout performance on Tuesday and it feels like the 18-year-old took a landmark step in his development not only with his goal, but with the overall quality of his display.
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