Foden defends Guardiola over Man City playing time criticism

Paul Macdonald
Foden defends Guardiola over Man City playing time criticism

Phil Foden has defended Pep Guardiola over criticism of the youngster’s playing time at Manchester City after his breakout season with the Premier League champions.

Foden, who is soon to turn 21, has been tipped to win the PFA Young Player of the Year award after a stellar campaign. It is his first as a regular in the side, having made 28 appearances in the league.

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Having been knocking on the door for a number of years, Foden had been made to wait for his chance. There were some who believed Guardiola was being too cautious with him, claiming he should have gone out on loan at one stage.

But Foden, who now looks guaranteed to start the Champions League final against Chelsea on Saturday and at Euro 2020 for England, admits he was behind a number of top players in the City pecking order.

“There weren’t many young kids at my age playing in a team like this,” said Foden, who scored winning goals in both legs of the quarter-final win over Borussia Dortmund and has bagged 16 in all competitions this season.

“A lot of people were complaining about the minutes and things but, with the team that we have here and how many quality players we had at the time, it was very difficult to get in.

“I just kept believing in myself and trusting the manager. This year has been really good for me, playing more minutes. I would definitely say it has paid off.”

Foden’s star turn for City

By the end of the season, Foden had cemented himself in many people’s Team of the Season selections, as well as Guardiola’s first XI at City.

He has certainly repaid the manager’s faith this season and taken the chance afforded to him by the exits of both David Silva and Leroy Sane last summer.

The England international is now undisputedly one of the best young players in the world, sure to play a vital role in any future successes for his country as well as Man City.