London (AFP) – Phil Foden says Pep Guardiola’s faith in his ability has been a “massive” factor in his development after the 20-year-old Manchester City playmaker was called up to the England squad for the first time.
City boss Guardiola has regularly lavished praise upon Foden, saying he would not sell the young star even for 500 million euros ($590 million).
Foden has picked up two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and three League Cup medals since starring in England’s Under-17 World Cup triumph in 2017.
Last season he played 38 games for City, including starting the Champions League last-16 second-leg win against Real Madrid.
His extended run in the side has led to a first call-up to Gareth Southgate’s senior England squad, who are preparing for Nations League away games against Iceland and Denmark.
Asked what kind of impact playing in big matches and Guardiola’s faith have on his belief levels, Foden said: “Massive. I played in some massive games this year, like cup finals and big Champions League games, and they’re the games that everyone wants to play in.
“Sometimes it is difficult for a young player to play in those games but I think he has been patient with me and played me at the right times. Now I’m learning a lot and I feel ready to go.”
Foden said he was living the dream of “every kid” ahead of the match against Iceland on Saturday.
“When I was young, every kid on the estate used to dream of playing for England and pretended they were (England) players,” he said.
“That’s something I used to do and now I’m in the senior team it seems crazy and it’s still not really sunk in. I’m just hoping that I can make my debut. It will be a big moment for the family.”
Foden said he was aware that many people had been pushing for his inclusion in the England set-up at an earlier stage, but added that he had not played a lot of games for City in total.
“Recently I’ve been playing a lot more and doing well, so I’ve had to work hard for the opportunity,” he said.
“Now I’ve got it I’m just trying to give it the best I can do and just enjoy it, really.”
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