Phil Foden

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10 players set for breakout seasons in 2019-20 PL

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Every season, a handful of previously unknown — or even unexpected — players turn in performances of the highest quality and find themselves being talked about as the Premier League’s latest “breakout player.”

This will undoubtedly be the case again in 2019-20, but will it be? Here are 10 players primed to reach new heights over the next 10 months…

[ MORE: 2 days to go until new PL season: Is it a 2-horse race again? ]

Miguel Almiron, Newcastle United — Here’s the thing about the former Atlanta United star: he can really play. It didn’t take long for the Paraguayan to flash his skill and promise after moving to Newcastle last January. Now, try to imagine what he can do with a full offseason and preseason under his belt… if only the departure of Rafa Benitez doesn’t derail this freight train.

(Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Mason Mount, Chelsea — With the Blues suffering through a two-window transfer ban, new manager Frank Lampard will have no choice but to rely upon a handful of academy players, beginning with the 20-year-old midfielder with whom he worked at Derby County last season. Eight goals and five assists in a solid haul for a teenager, and Mount has made the most of his every chance this preseason.

Reiss Nelson, Arsenal — After a season on loan at Hoffenheim (seven goals), Nelson faces an uphill battle for playing time in a thoroughly stacked Arsenal attack, but he’s got the complete package, plus the versatility, required to force his way into regular minutes.

Lloyd Kelly, Bournemouth — Smart clubs in the PL’s bottom half will have done extensive scouting on EFL Championship players ready to make the jump to England’s top flight, only to be held back by employment at a smaller club. Lloyd Kelly can play left back and center back, and he was outstanding for Bristol City last season. He’s one of a few potential answers to the question “who’ll be the next $60-million British defender?”

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/WBA FC via Getty Images)

Max Aarons, Norwich City — How does a PFA Championship Team of the Year, EFL Team of the Season and EFL Player of the Year campaign sound for a potential breakout star? Norwich City’s Max Aarons achieved all of the above last season, at the age of 18 and 19, in his first season as a professional.

Morgan Gibbs-White, Wolverhampton Wanderers — The same age as Aarons, Gibbs-White is already a seasoned professional with three seasons under his belt. Now that Wolves are on the path to the Europa League group stage, Nuno Espirito Santo will be forced to rotate his team far more than last season, and he undoubtedly find that Gibbs-White is a handy option in midfield.

Moise Kean, Everton — Kean is fairly well known among those who follow the rest of Europe somewhat closely, but PL-only fans are in for a real treat when the 19-year-old Italian attacker gets his feet under him at Goodison Park.

Youri Tielemans, Leicester City — How Tielemans tumbled this far down the transfer pyramid (all due respect to Leicester, of course) is truly a mystery. It’s not as though he was unknown in any way, or that he’s untested in the PL (he spent the second half of last season on loan to the Foxes), or that any number of PL club could have used a midfielder of his caliber.

(Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City via Getty Images)

Declan Rice, West Ham United — Sure, Rice announced himself onto the PL stage last season, but 2019-20 feels like the time when he’ll go from “good young player” to “how much will Man City or Liverpool or Man United have to pay for him next summer?” West Ham being more consistent as a team and pushing for top-seven wouldn’t hurt Rice’s stock one bit.

Phil Foden, Manchester City — Is this the year Foden finally pushes his way into Pep Guardiola‘s regular rotation? We’ve been waiting for him to do so for two seasons now, yet he won’t turn 20 years old until after the 2019-20 season ends. Central midfield is still relatively thin at Man City, though that hasn’t stopped Guardiola from refusing to rotate and give Foden chances in the past.

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.

Player ratings from Man City 1-0 Spurs

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The goal were scarce, but Man City and Tottenham Hotspur went on with their ability to entertain in a bounce back win for City at the Etihad Stadium.

[ MORE: Match recap | ]

A flop from either would’ve been understandable given the 7-goal thriller at midweek, but both provided fine accounts of themselves as Phil Foden was the match-winner.


Manchester City

Ederson:  9 – *Man of the Match* here was plenty of luck in his thwarting of Lucas Moura‘s late deflected strike, but the Brazilian will enjoy a clean sheet following Wednesday’s second leg.

Kyle Walker: 6 – Would VAR have him conceding a second half penalty for handball?

John Stones: 6 – Not terrific, though his partial block that led to Ederson’s last big save was bigger than we realize.

Aymeric Laporte: 7 – A notable error between Laporte and Stones late takes this down a point, but he was huge along with Ederson in the early stages.

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 7 – Is City in the UEFA Champions League semifinal with a healthy Zinchenko in place of Mendy, Delph, et. al.

Kevin De Bruyne (Off 38′): N/A – His injury will be alarming for City, given recurring knee troubles this season.

Ilkay Gundogan: 6 – An unspectacular display as time ticks down on his career at City.

Phil Foden: 8 – The fifth-minute header could hardly have been a more important first Premier League goal.

Bernardo Silva: 8 – A delightful dribble and cross to the back post set up the opener, as the Portuguese playmaker continues a fine season.

Sergio Aguero (Off 66′): 7 – Perhaps a bit quieter than usual, but his headed assist was what City needed early at the Etihad.

Raheem Sterling: 7 – Absolutely in the discussion for Premier League Player of the Season, and has been switched on from moment one.

Subs
Fernandinho (On 38′): 7 – Easy to applaud anyone who comes on for an hour off the bench and doesn’t miss a beat. Broke up some serious Spurs threats.
Leroy Sane (On 66′): 7 – Short spell, but effective. Should’ve collected an assist for his set-up of Sterling

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Tottenham

Paulo Gazzaniga:  7 – Solid enough and made a great point-blank save in the second half from Sterling.

Juan Foyth: 7 – A little lost at right back early on, but worked hard and made some important tackles against Sterling and improved as the game went on.

Davinson Sanchez: 6 – See above. Solid on his return to the starting lineup. Maybe could have done better on the goal as Aguero peeled off him.

Toby Alderweireld: 7 – As dependable as ever. Good block from Aguero in the second half, which had a hint of handball, but the Belgian knew nothing about it.

Jan Vertonghen: 7 – Dominant display and tried his best to get Spurs moving forward when he could.

Ben Davies: 6 – Struggled to cope with Bernardo Silva, but then again most defenders have this season.

Eric Dier: 5 – Has been out with injury for a while, and looked rusty on his return to central midfield.

Christian Eriksen: 7 – Some lovely balls forward for Son, and he was denied by Ederson in the first half when he should have probably scored.

Dele Alli: 6 – A few majestic flicks in the first half, and appealed for a penalty kick on Kyle Walker. Looked a little jaded, which is understandable.

Lucas Moura: 7 – Hurried and chased all game long, and nearly got in to score in the second half but Ederson denied him.

Heung-Min Son: 6 – Another sharp display, but will be disappointed he didn’t score after having three big chances in the first half. Led Spurs’ charge on the counter attack.

Subs
Danny Rose: 6 – Did okay and brought his usual energy to the left back position.
Victor Wanyama: 5 – Booked. Did his best to provide a better shield than Dier in front of the Spurs defense.
Fernando Llorente: 5 – Hardly touched the ball in his brief cameo on the pitch. No hip/arm touches today…

Man City obliterates Schalke to reach UCL quarters (video)

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  • City makes third quarterfinal in four years
  • Aguero bags brace
  • Sane, Sterling produce electric displays

Sergio Aguero scored twice as Manchester City leveled Schalke 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus, and Bernardo Silva also scored as City collected a 10-2 aggregate win over its Bundesliga opposition to reach the quarterfinals.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Man City opened up the match with control of the ball and the chances, even seeing a goal chalked off for interference as Raheem Sterling’s interference with Schalke’s Ralf Fahrmann is what allowed Aymeric Laporte to slot home.

That’s when City did the thing which would make life mathematically improbable for Schalke: Score a goal.

Jeffrey Bruma took down Bernardo Silva in the box to give City a chance from the spot. Aguero’s conversion meant Schalke would need to score three goals without conceding again to Man City. Tall order.

Fahrmann stopped Aguero from making it 2-0 moments later on a dribble inside the box, but couldn’t manage to repeat the feat when the Argentine was set-up by Sterling in the 38th minute.

Sane helped City to its 3-0 halftime lead with a run past USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie, playing right back for Schalke, to beat Fahrmann.

But that wasn’t all. Sterling used VAR to overrule the linesman when he blasted City in front by five on aggregate just after the break. Sane again played the role of maestro on the goal.

Then Foden became the the youngest player ever to score a Champions League goal for Manchester City, again from Sane, and Gabriel Jesus made it 7-0 before long.

Foden, Man City advance in FA Cup (video)

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  • Foden scores twice
  • Ederson with reaction save
  • Sane bloodies keeper’s nose with winner
  • Armond pulls one back before Foden restores two-goal lead

Second-half goals from Leroy Sane and Phil Foden ended Newport County’s game effort for a shock defeat of Manchester City in FA Cup fifth round action at Rodney Parade on Saturday.

Sane hit a close-range shot off the nose of Exiles’ keeper Joe Day and into the goal, as City finally found a goal on the beat-up shared rugby pitch, and Foden hit a bounding shot past Day with just over a quarter-hour to play in the 4-1 win.

Newport County’s goal came when Padraig Armond hit a loose ball off Aymeric Laporte, over Ederson, and into the goal. But Foden completed his brace with a dribble and finish off the ensuing kickoff, and Mahrez blistered the back of the net with a stoppage time finish.

City moves onto the quarterfinals, where they’ll join Watford, Brighton and Hove Albion, and Millwall.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

Newport was up for the challenge, at least early, and their rugged pitch certainly helped close the gap between the first- and fourth-tier English sides.

In fact, a terrific glove save from Ederson kept City level just after the quarter-hour mark. Mickey Demetriou’s long throw made its way to Tyreeq Bakinson, but the latter’s header was stymied by City’s Brazilian backstop.

A lively Riyad Mahrez was a consistent threat for City in the early stages, having one shot turned out for a corner and blazing a left-footed effort wide from atop the 18.

Despite the Algerian’s best efforts, Michael Flynn’s men took the match to halftime 0-0.

City broke through via Sane, whose tight-angled shot bloodied Joe Day’s nose on the way into the goal.

[ WATCH: Flynn greets “genius” Guardiola ]

Day got low to stop John Stones‘ bid for 2-0, and the game reached its final half-hour as a one-score affair.

An Ederson giveaway came close to gifting Newport County a bid for an equalizer, but the Brazilian was bailed out by his backs.

Phil Foden gave a ay a free kick rescued by Ederson after a few headers in the 73rd.

The pitch helped City’s second goal, as Foden’s shot bounded over a diving Day to make it 2-0.

Day then saved a Sane shot with his face in the 85th minute before catching a Gabriel Jesus effort moments later.

The Exiles pulled one back, but City bagged a pair of goals afterward through Foden and Mahrez to flatter their match with a 4-1 score line.