Pep Guardiola Says Phil Foden Is 'Ready' Amid Man City Midfield Injury Crisis

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2018

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 22: Phil Foden speaks with Josep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City ahead of walking onto pitch during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Swansea City at Etihad Stadium on April 22, 2018 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said he thinks youngster Phil Foden is ready to start matches for the Premier League champions following a spate of recent injuries in midfield. 

For the 4-0 win against West Ham United at the weekend the Manchester outfit were without both Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva due to injury issues. When speaking about the players he could potentially call upon Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League against Lyon, Guardiola said he'd have no issue using Foden, per Jack Gaughan of the MailOnline.

"Phil's definitely ready," he said. "He played 20 minutes in the last game [at West Ham] and was so aggressive with the ball and intense without it. ... When Phil appeared in the last pre-season game I was incredibly impressed, and I think he's stronger and more conscious that he's able to play with us."

As noted by Gaughan, in addition to Silva and De Bruyne being missing for the game against Lyon, Ilkay Gundogan will also sit the match out.

Per Sam Lee of Goal, Guardiola provided an update on the condition of the Germany international: 

Sam Lee @Sammy_Goal

Guardiola says Bernardo Silva could/should return against Bournemouth, Jesus got a muscle problem in training yesterday, apparently not serious, and Gundogan "had a problem with his foot, the bone" and they wanted to avoid more problems with it

It means that Foden could line up alongside veterans David Silva and Fernandinho in central midfield for the showdown at the Groupama Stadium.

It would be Foden's first start outside the Carabao Cup wins over Oxford United and Fulham. And City supporters will be keen to see what the midfielder can do against some high-class opposition.

The match will be a big opportunity for Foden, as the midfield quality at Guardiola's disposal means he is rarely this high up the pecking order:

B/R Football @brfootball

De Bruyne ❌ Bernardo Silva ❌ Gundogan ❌ Manchester City’s midfield options are down to 3️⃣ in the #UCL this week https://t.co/gu0OTb18ET

However, when he has been introduced in games he's showcased glimpses of tremendous potential. In the recent Manchester derby he made an eye-catching impact, helping City to a 3-1 win over rivals United: 

Match of the Day @BBCMOTD

Alexis Sanchez & Romelu Lukaku in 57 combined minutes - four passes Phil Foden in two minutes - seven passes 😳 #ManchesterDerby https://t.co/DYgz9gtGoj

Foden has all the attributes to slot into this City setup. The 18-year-old is a natural with the ball at his feet, while his change of pace and vision helps get the best out of attacking stars ahead of him.

It's also clear how much City means to him as a local lad, as Foden celebrated his first goal for the club against Oxford with a lot of passion: 

Manchester City @ManCity

What City fan wouldn't celebrate their first goal like this?! 💙 #mancity https://t.co/GeNOylpDUQ

Although his first strike will be a moment to cherish forever, an outing at Lyon in the Champions League would potentially eclipse that. A win for City would be enough for them to secure qualification for the next stage and top the group.

Mark Critchley of The Independent recently reported the youngster is ready to commit his future to the club.