FODEN: Stepping up to the plate

When David Silva moved back to Spain after 10 hugely successful years at Manchester City, the biggest of battens was passed down to a young lad from Stockport.

But Phil Foden has seemingly rose to that challenge and has happily carried that batten when given the opportunity.

He had already made an impact on a world stage, leading England u17's to World Cup success in 2017, scoring in the final against Spain and subsequently awarded player of the tournament. Later that year he would make his City debut in the Champions League vs Feyenoord aged 17 years and 177 days.

"But is he ready?" "Can he be relied upon to play 30 games plus?"

Pep Guardiola has been understandably cautious when allowing Foden game time - with occasional starts and coming off the bench to add legs and invention in to the attack when games were usually already determined. But to quote another managerial great from the red side of the city - "If they're good enough, they're old enough".

2020/21 season is huge for Foden, with City not exactly firing on all cylinders in terms of their attacking play, and it seems Pep has been given time to reshape the side to make a challenge again.

Manchester City's 3-1 win at Chelsea (03/01/2021) was a flashback to the side of two years ago. Controlled, disciplined and devastating in the final third, with Foden more than influential, scoring their second and in the main always looking threatening with the ball at his feet. His awareness and calm approach when playing out of tight spots was also a feature, giving the vastly experience Azpilicueta a headache throughout, whilst the robust Zouma was embroiled in to a physical battle he perhaps didn't expect from the rather diminutive attacking midfielder.

What stands out is Foden's character. He never looks flustered. He never deviates from his style of play. He trusts it. And more importantly, Pep trusts it.

His decision making and awareness around him is always in evidence when he carries the ball forward with purpose. Weight of pass and then finding space inside the box for any returns is all well and good, but what about the finish? Yup, that's in his game too. Off the ball he presses enthusiastically and tenaciously, and as mentioned can give the biggest of opponents a wake up call.

He is the blueprint of a modern day Manchester City player, almost continental in his approach. At 20 years old he has already won club and international honours. He knows what it takes to win and how to compose himself (on the pitch) when given the opportunity and that is something that not only City need right now, but also England.

Pressure? What pressure? Given the fact he is a City fan and has had 'the next David Silva' label affixed to him for some years now, Is he ready to play 30 games plus? You better believe it.

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