Pep Guardiola has urged Phil Foden to remain ‘humble’ amid rising expectations of the Manchester City star following his performances this season.
Foden has been viewed as one of the Premier League’s most exciting talents for some time and outlined his status as England’s brightest prospect with a devastating display against Liverpool last weekend.
The 20-year-old was outstanding as the league leaders dismantled the champions on Merseyside, playing his part in two goals before scoring a stunning effort to seal a statement victory for City.
Foden has grown in influence this season and has provided eight goal involvements in 11 league starts, with some suggestions the midfielder could be a generational talent for the national side akin to the likes of Paul Gascoigne and Wayne Rooney.
Guardiola has carefully managed the progress of the academy graduate so far and has now opened up on the challenges that await Foden, urging the youngster to remain grounded as he bids to establish himself as a key figure for both club and country.
At a press conference ahead of tonight’s FA Cup clash with Swansea Guardiola was asked if this next stage of Foden’s career presented his coach with a different challenge, the Catalan said: “Not for me, no. But it will be for him.
“He has to be calm and understand the tough periods are going to come.
“It depends if he’s humble with this and the love for the game, the expectations at that age, so we’ll see if he can handle it.
“Now people will expect him to do exceptional things every game. This is the most difficult thing.
“To arrive and be there with 100 games, yeah it’s difficult, but what is important now is to do 100 more and 100 more at this level, playing every day and winning every day. This is the toughest one.
“That’s why the greatest players don’t play one great match in Anfield or play good games, they stay five years in a row being consistent, not being injured and playing, playing, playing.
“This is the next target for Phil – playing at a high level for as long as possible.
“The managers, we do less than people expect. It depends absolutely on him and hopefully he can do it.”
Foden has bounced back after the controversy of his first senior call up for England last year, the midfielder sent home in disgrace alongside Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood for breaching coronavirus protocols at the team’s Icelandic hotel.
Guardiola has revealed the advice he gave Foden following that incident and believes the midfielder is now reaping the rewards for focusing on football, with the three-cap England international now firmly in contention for a place in the Three Lions’ squad for this summer’s European Championships.
“For one mistake he made in his private life, we know exactly what happened, you know that,” said Guardiola.
“That’s why I said to him ‘don’t read much or listen much, keep your feet on the grass and keep going’. Now it’s just calm.
“I know Phil is ready to play, because his physical condition is extraordinary, his recovery and the way he runs in many moments without the ball in the game.”
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