Pep Guardiola praises Phil Foden’s versatility as Manchester City win again

The England international could be given a bigger role in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne.

Andy Hampson
Sunday 20 August 2023 11:21 BST
Phil Foden (right) shone as Manchester City beat Newcastle (Nick Potts/PA)
Phil Foden (right) shone as Manchester City beat Newcastle (Nick Potts/PA)

Pep Guardiola hailed the impact of Phil Foden after champions Manchester City continued their winning Premier League start with a hard-fought victory over Newcastle.

Julian Alvarez scored the only goal of a tight game at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday but it was Foden who claimed most of the plaudits as City registered a club-record 17th successive home victory.

England midfielder Foden teed up Alvarez’s 31st-minute strike during a lively display in which he looked more than capable of filling the playmaking void created by injury to Kevin De Bruyne.

“I’ve said many times, Phil can play in all the positions up front,” said City manager Guardiola.

“He has an incredible ability between the lines. The way he turns and attacks the last lines – it is one of the best I have seen.

“Every control, he knows exactly what is the goal. He doesn’t need two or three touches to get in the right position to attack the goal. In just one touch he is attacking.

“Managers adapt skills to the players we have, or the problems we have right now. Phil, I know how good he is in that position, how good he is as a striker or left wing or wing. I am happy because I have the feeling he is coming back.

“Still we are not at our best, we still have to make a step, but that is completely normal in this type of period.

“Here the biggest difference is the team showed to me, and showed to the Premier League, we are ready to try it again.”

Coming off the back of their European Super Cup triumph in midweek, the treble winners were not at their most dynamic.

Yet with Foden at the heart of their attack, they repeatedly troubled Newcastle while successfully stifling the visitors’ threat.

The result punctured some of Newcastle’s buoyancy after a bright start to the season but manager Eddie Howe emphasised the positives.

Howe said: “They controlled it but you have to give them credit. They are a top team and that’s why they win so much.

“It’s disappointing not to get anything from the game but we’ll reflect and analyse and there’s so much to take from the game.

“We go into another one against Liverpool, which will be similar, and there’s lots to take into that match.”

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