As Manchester City’s skyline sees some influential names set or already beyond the horizon, one star seems keen to shimmer even brighter in the middle: Phil Foden. But where does he see himself shining the most?
Foden’s Midfield Mastery
In the football terrains of Manchester City, few positions come with as much weight as the role just behind the striker. Foden, fresh from an electric display against Newcastle, believes he’s found his spiritual home there.
“I think the one I played in against Newcastle, that’s my favourite one, that’s where I feel comfortable,” he expressed during a chat with Sky Sports. “I felt alive in that game, I felt myself more and I could get on the ball and do things.”
The young Englishman, often lauded for his midfield prowess, has frequently oscillated between roles but seemed particularly animated in the number ten slot, especially alongside Julian Alvarez. The absence of Kevin De Bruyne, coupled with Ilkay Gundogan’s exit, makes for an intriguing subplot: Can Foden be the solution to Man City’s creative conundrum?
The Weight of Responsibility
Foden’s recent fondness for this ‘Newcastle’ role isn’t just a fleeting passion. He’s acutely aware of the responsibility it entails, both in offence and defence.
“That’s always been me as a player and hopefully I can keep playing there and show people what I can do. It [the position] is one I can handle. There’s a lot of responsibility, it’s not just about going forward. You have to know what you’re doing defensively and know who is around you.”
Playing for Pep: A Challenge and a Privilege
However, it’s not all smooth sailing in the Etihad. The young prodigy understands the fickle nature of team selections under Pep Guardiola, acknowledging the ever-present challenges of maintaining a regular starting position.
“We’re playing at one of the best teams in the world. You’re not guaranteed to play every game, even if you’ve done well in the last game,” Foden remarked. “We’ve seen that with the manager we’ve got, he likes to rotate and use the full squad. Every game he’s got a different scenario and he picks different players for different games and you’ve got to respect his decision.”
Rising to the Occasion
With the Belgian maestro, De Bruyne, sidelined, Foden feels an innate duty to fill those enormous shoes. Aware of the colossal standards expected at City, he’s raring to be that creative spark they so desperately need.
“Everyone has to play at a high standard. You’re playing at one of the best teams in the world,” Foden elucidated. “The end of last season is the highest level we’ve reached and we want to continue that and keep winning because it’s the best feeling. I’m used to it but hopefully I can keep playing a lot of football now because Kev is injured and I’m needed for the team. So I hope I can fulfil that position and try to do good things there.”
Only time will tell if Phil Foden will consistently light up Man City’s midfield in his preferred role, but one thing’s for sure: he’s ready to embrace the challenge with open arms.