Guardiola labels Foden ‘the most talented player I’ve ever seen’

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Phil Foden may be just 19 years old, but not only has he forced his way into the Manchester City first-team squad, he’s also drawn spectacular praise from one of the world’s most renowned managers.

Speaking from Japan ahead of Manchester City’s friendly against J-League side Yokohama FM, Pep Guardiola called Foden “the most talented player I have ever seen,” quite high praise from a manager who has the likes of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Robert Lewandowski, Gerard Pique, and Manuel Neuer among others on his managerial resume over the course of his career.

In fact, Guardiola said the only person standing in Foden’s way at the moment is himself.

“He is the most talented player I have ever seen,” Guardiola said during his pre-match press conference. “His problem is sometimes his manager doesn’t put him in starting XI. He deserves all the minutes. He works incredibly. He knows I’m here to help him.”

Guardiola’s position is understandable given the talent in the squad at the attacking midfield position. Manchester City boasts Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan, and the departing David Silva all in a similar position, yet Foden saw 13 Premier League appearances last season and scored in his first start of the year, a massive goal in the 1-0 win over Spurs down the stretch of the title run.

“I am lucky to be part of it,” the 19-year-old said of the Man City squad while sitting alongside Guardiola in the pre-match press conference. “It is a special team. The success comes from the depth of the squad. Anyone who plays will put a shift in and play well.”

City’s match against Yokohama is their final preseason game, after which they will return to England to prepare for the Community Shield on August 4 against Liverpool followed by their first Premier League match against West Ham six days later.