Phil Foden: The Stockport Iniesta of the Sky Blues

Manchester City is well known for its star-studded team and its capability to win trophies. But in this team of stars from all over the world, there is one who’s different from all of them. A boy from the Manchester City Academy who has spent his whole life wearing the sky blue. The youngest ever player to win the Premier League. A boy born in Manchester who embraced Manchester City as his home. Phillip Walter Foden

Journey

Phil Foden joined the Manchester City academy at 4 after his parents were convinced personally by City’s scouts. He was one of the City’s prospective talents at that time but as the years passed by, he grew at a rapid pace in every aspect of his game. He won the man of the tournament at the U-17 world cup held in India while playing for England. He made his debut for City at the age of 16. Although he didn’t get much playing time in the beginning due to so many world-class players such as Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva in the team, he was developed patently and intricately under the guidance of Guardiola. He is now one of the first names on the team sheet and brings a whole new dynamic to the team of Man City.

Position and Versatility

Foden originally started out in the midfield role and was thought to be the long-term replacement of David Silva. He has all the qualities of an amazing attacking midfielder. But Guardiola decided to explore his potential even more and over the years, he has shifted to a left-winger role. He also plays as a left center mid at times for City, slotted just behind the left winger but in a slightly more central role. Foden has been developed in such a manner that he can play in many positions in the attacking third. He started out as an attacking midfielder but now he can play on either of the wings as well as a false 9 player. And with the constantly fluid system of Pep Guardiola, no player ever plays at a fixed position.

(Source: Smarterscout)

Gameplay

Phil Foden is very popular among the supporters as the ‘Stockport Iniesta’ due to his dribbling and playmaking ability. Foden dribbles in a simple yet dizzying way that most defenders aren’t able to comprehend. He is extremely agile, can lose his man easily, and makes darting runs at the defenders. Due to his low center of gravity and amazing control on the ball, Foden can carve spaces and get out of some of the tightest situations. His first touch is feather-like but isn’t talked about enough due to the plethora of talent around him. He has great strength in his body for a 21-year-old who is so skinny. That makes it easier for him to fend off defenders. Foden’s playmaking ability on the other hand is phenomenal. He can see spaces that most people miss. Through balls are his specialty that just keeps on improving while learning under the likes of Kevin De Bruyne. The weight on his pass is almost perfect most of the time which is why he is more preferred in the left center role by Guardiola. In the most recent match against Chelsea, Foden created 4 chances in the game, which was higher than anyone on the field.

(Source: Twitter)

Foden has 32 goals and 24 assists in 75 matches worth of time that is impressive for a 21-year-old. But his attacking prowess isn’t the only dimension of his game. His work rate and his pressing are unmatched. He is extremely industrious and tracks back to defend when his team is under pressure. A constant menace all over the field, Foden is seen running at every opposition player pressing to win the ball. Even though he might start at the left side of the field, in the middle of the match he might end up playing on the right due to his constant presence all over the field.

Conclusion

Phil Foden is Manchester City’s golden boy and a potential homegrown legend for the club. His path into the senior team hasn’t been easy with low playing time in his earlier years. But his heart is at Manchester City and he has proven that time and time again. Foden has lived up to his potential up till now and is expected to follow the same track in the near future. Whatever happens in the future, the Stockport Iniesta in the present is one of his kind and a prized jewel of Manchester City’s crown.

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