Pep Guardiola lauds Phil Foden’s “most influential season” at Manchester City

Pep Guardiola believes Phil Foden is enjoying his “most influential season” yet at Manchester City after the playmaker scored a hat-trick in the Citizens’ 3-1 win at Brentford on Monday.

Pep Guardiola believes that Phil Foden is enjoying his “most influential season” yet at Manchester City after the playmaker scored a hat-trick in the Citizens’ 3-1 comeback victory at Brentford in the Premier League on Monday.

After falling behind midway through the first half courtesy of a Neal Maupay strike, the reigning champions restored parity on the stroke of half time when Foden slotted a composed finish past goalkeeper Mark Flekken, who had previously made nine saves to deny the visitors.

The Englishman then headed City into the lead eight minutes after the break when he met Kevin De Bruyne‘s floated delivery into the penalty area, before receiving a smart pass from Erling Haaland to complete his hat-trick with a confident left-footed shot on the 70-minute mark.

Foden, who took home the match ball for the second time in his career, has now recorded 14 goals and nine assists for Man City across all competitions this season, with his latest contribution helping the Citizens climb back up to second in the top-flight table and move to within two points of leaders Liverpool, who have played a game more.

Guardiola heaped praise on Foden after the match, telling reporters: “We knew it from the other day. I said a few weeks ago that Phil is having is most influential season in the team in terms of goals and assists.

Manchester City's Phil Foden celebrates scoring their second goal with Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez on February 5, 2024© Reuters

“This season he’s been so important to us. He reads the game really well. How he plays simple and be more aggressive.

“Always he has the pleasure to score goals and the threat in the six-yard box, always he’s there. He’s a clever runner and how he runs for the team. He’s an exceptional player.

“At his age (23) playing 250 appearances for City – that means he’s had an influence since he arrived.”

Foden has established himself as an important first-team-player for Man City since making his debut in 2017, winning 16 trophies in the process, and Guardiola believes that the versatile attacker’s talent and experience will eventually help him to morph into a leader at the club.

“He will take over from Kevin and Bernardo [Silva] in the future – that is going to happen,” Guardiola added. “It’s a question of process. Every season the experience he gets, he will have to lead for the other ones. Still, he is being led but there will be a moment.

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola on January 26, 2024© Reuters

“I have to say something that since day one playing on the field, he feels mature and feels ‘I don’t care, I have enough experience and I don’t feel the pressure’.

“A player from the academy with this level and consistency for many years. I don’t know how many trophies all the ones we won, 15 or 16 at that age.

“As much as he is focused on that he will have a successful and long career, but it depends on him. How much he wants to be focused on his job and every detail in his life he can do whatever he wants.”

Foden will be looking to add to his goal tally when Man City welcome Everton to the Etihad Stadium for their next Premier League game on Saturday lunchtime.

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