Guardiola says 'incredible' Foden will reach new heights when he learns to 'slow down'

By Peter Thompson 26 December 2020 27
Guardiola says 'incredible' Foden will reach new heights when he learns to 'slow down'

Pep Guardiola has hailed Phil Foden as one of the most "incredible" players he has seen at his age and said he can go to another level after learning to "slow down."

Midfielder Foden has scored five goals and provided four assists in 17 appearances for City this season.

The 20-year-old England international scored City's third goal with a sublime finish and put one on a plate for Aymeric Laporte in a 4-1 EFL Cup quarter-final win at Arsenal on Tuesday.

Foden found the back of the net eight times and set up nine goals last season, so he is well on course to improve on those tallies ahead of the Boxing Day clash with Newcastle United.

City boss Guardiola rates Foden as one of the most gifted players he has set eyes on around his age group and commended his desire to improve, but said he will only reach his peak with more experience under his belt.

The Spaniard said: "They [younger players] have incredible energy, but in the final decision, final pass, they have to slow down. The energy for a guy of that age, he wants to win the world, beat the world and be important.

"It's normal, but you need experience to be more calm. He plays football in the same rhythm, football must be need played in different rhythms: sometimes you have to walk, sometimes you have no rhythm, sometimes you have to change the rhythm.

"He has to understand this, but it is experience, it's not saying you have to do it [now], it's time. He has incredible skills and many other things and we will be incredibly patient, it's not easy for a young player to rise as he has in a club like this, playing important games and with the national team.

"There will be a moment when he slows down, it's a normal process for all young players. You just stick have to stick with them and be patient.

"Every time with patience and a desire to be a better player you will get it, there's no doubt. I know we can trust and rely on him all the time."

Guardiola is confident Foden has the ability to score many more goals for City.

Asked how many he is capable of scoring, he said: "A lot. The signs are good. In front of the keeper he has this composure. He has something that the other ones don't have.

"He just has to keep this incredible strength he has and to improve. A player of 28, 29, 30 years old also has margin to improve, so imagine a guy of 20 years old like Phil. The important thing is his desire and commitment and he is a joy to watch in the training sessions and in the games he will improve."

Guardiola added: "He is one of the more incredible players I have seen at that age, he is so good. I was in Barcelona, I was in Bayern Munich and yes there were more experienced players, but I saw in the academy and there were incredible players at that age.

"They had long careers and they had the mentality that Phil has and that's the most important thing."

City will be without Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker when they host Newcastle after they tested positive for coronavirus.

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