Guardiola has ambitious plans for Phil Foden’s future role

15 October 2023 - 11:56 pm

From the start, Guardiola has given Phil Foden his full support.

He hailed the young England international as the next big thing and one of the most talented players he has ever coached. Man, he’s coached some absolutely delightful football players over the years.

Foden has taken that trust and support and turned it into one of the best players in the Premier League. Foden is versatile, well-rounded, selfless and puts in a lot of effort for the team. He does not rely on his natural abilities.

Foden is one of those players who strives for more and never gets frustrated, even when the team is in a tactical period where he is not needed.

Foden has started six games this season and made one additional appearance as a substitute, playing almost every position in midfield and on the wing.

He can play as an attacking winger on both sides, as a wide midfielder on both sides, as an attacking midfielder or as a central midfielder.

But what is his best long-term position? Everyone is waiting for Manchester City to put Foden in place to truly turn the 23-year-old into an elite, world-class, best talent on the planet. He needs that focus.

If you ask Guardiola himself, the head coach seems to prefer Foden to transform into a holding midfielder.

Yes, a holding midfielder. Not an attacking midfielder. Not a B2B wide midfielder. No, he wants Foden to sit further back than we’ve seen him do in Manchester over the past few seasons.

This may sound unorthodox at first glance as it is very different to what we are used to seeing from Foden. However, when you look at what Guardiola is urging Foden to do, it makes sense.

He asked Foden to play different positions to understand what the players in that role wanted, including passing, timing and areas of the pitch they could attack.

In a double-pivot type position, Foden can see what they see and predict the weight of the pass they want, which can lead to better chances for the forwards.

The name of the game now is to enable midfielders to do everything, watch the game, read the game and make plays early enough to drive the game forward or create opportunities directly out of nothing in the early stages of the game.

Moving Foden there is an ambitious move in the long term, but he is more than capable of filling the role. It will take time but Guardiola has been wisely patient with the youngster.

One day, it could produce a result so powerful that even Foden himself hadn’t imagined it.