Pep Guardiola has backed Phil Foden to replace the departing David Silva and believes the teenager is the ‘natural successor’ to the Spaniard at Manchester City.
Silva will bring a glittering 10-year career at the Etihad to a close at the end of the current season, the 33-year-old announcing he will leave the club at the expiry of his contract.
Hopes are high that Foden can fill the void left by the veteran’s impending departure, despite the Manchester City academy graduate having struggled for opportunities under Pep Guardiola so far this season.
The 19-year-old could be handed a start for City’s Champions League clash at Dinamo Zagreb tonight, the club already assured of their place in the knockout stages as group winners, and Guardiola has reiterated his succession plan for Foden to replace Silva.
“That is our wish,” Pep told the media in his pre-match press conference.
“David is a legend. The amount of games and titles [he has]. We believe he [Phil] can do it.”
Foden has failed to start a single league fixture for the Premier League champions so far this season, making just a series of cameo appearances from the bench in the opening months of the campaign.
Guardiola admitted the youngster must improve, but says he is satisfied with Foden’s development and performances since breaking into the first-team.
“In some departments he can improve,” Guardiola added.
“Without the ball. Because he is so young, sometimes he has to think more about decision making, especially without the ball.
“It’s normal for his age. His development is perfect. We are satisfied with what he’s doing when he trains and when he plays.”