• Analysis

Phil Foden: How to be an underrated player at Man City

Phil Foden
© Damien Walmsley

Foden has quietly developed into one of Man City’s top performers this season.

While the spotlight at Manchester City has often been on the likes of Julian Alvarez and Rodri this season, the quiet excellence of Phil Foden has gone largely unnoticed.

It might seem strange to call a player who earns £225,000 a week “underrated”. But a quick look at Foden’s impact this season suggests that he might be the unsung hero of Pep Guardiola’s team.

The 23-year-old has made a triumphant return from an injury-ridden campaign, emerging as one of Manchester City’s standout performers.

Filling in for De Bruyne (or Haaland)

Foden’s versatility became evident when he seamlessly stepped into Kevin De Bruyne‘s shoes after the latter’s injury. However, it’s important to note that his impact goes beyond merely filling a position. Manager Pep Guardiola made tactical adjustments, deploying Kyle Walker as a right-winger to provide Foden with the freedom to drift centrally. This shift allowed the England international to play alongside Julian Alvarez and showcase his playmaking abilities.

Erling Haaland’s injury in early December saw Foden not only thriving as De Bruyne’s replacement but also evolving into a reliable goalscorer. Crucial goals against Leipzig and Tottenham highlighted his impressive form in front of goal.

Guaranteed starter?

Since late December, Foden has put together a string of incredible displays, securing his place in City’s starting lineup despite tough competition within the squad. His second goal against Huddersfield on January 7 marked his sixth direct goal contribution in just four matches, solidifying his place as a crucial part of Guardiola’s attacking plans.

Looking ahead, with De Bruyne and Haaland set to return, Foden faces more competition for his favourite spots in City’s lineup. However, his recent displays have showcased versatility, making him a direct competitor for Jeremy Doku and Jack Grealish’s positions. Guardiola now has the luxury of considering Foden for various roles, adding extra depth to City’s star-studded squad for the second half of the campaign.

Source: Sofascore