London (AFP) – Pep Guardiola has backed Manchester City starlet Phil Foden to shine for the next decade after the youngster’s dazzling League Cup display against Oxford.
Foden was City’s man of the match and capped his influential performance with his first senior goal in their 3-0 third round win on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old midfielder also played a part in the opening two goals for Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez.
England Under-19 international Foden has been tipped for the top for some while, but he hasn’t found it easy to break into the City given the quality the champions already possess.
But City manager Guardiola, handing Foden his first start since the Community Shield, is certain his gifted young prodigy will be a star turn at the Etihad Stadium for years to come.
“The way he celebrated his first goal was like the final of the World Cup and that is because he is a City fan,” Guardiola said.
“My dream is for him to stay 10 years and if Phil stays for 10 years, he can – in the next decade – play regularly and after (that) I don’t know what is going to happen with him.”
Oxford boss Karl Robinson likened Foden to former Barcelona midfielder Andreas Iniesta, although Guardiola was keen not to make comparison with one of his previous players.
“Wow. These are big, big words. I have said many times we are delighted with Phil,” Guardiola said.
“I am not going to say he is going to become Andres Iniesta because it puts pressure on him, Iniesta is by far one of the best players I ever saw in my life so we cannot put the pressure on Phil.
“But he has the quality to stay here for 10 years because I think he wants to stay, I think the club wants him to. But step by step, he needs to play regularly, but I think he has all the skills to play with us.”
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