Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has rejected the notion of likening Phil Foden to Andres Iniesta after the youngster starred in the League Cup.
The 18-year-old put in a man of the match performance against Oxford United on Tuesday night, setting up one goal and scoring one himself to round off a 3-0 victory for the English champions.
The English teenager has found playing time hard to come by under Guardiola, despite impressing during pre-season and his strike against the League One outfit marked his first goal at senior level for City.
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Video: Phil Foden scores his first senior goal for Man City in 3-0 win against Oxford
Video: Jesus opens the scoring for Man City against Oxford in the Carabao Cup
Foden faces stiff competition in midfield at the Etihad from the likes of Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan, all of whom have far greater experience playing at the highest level of the game and thusly sit in front of him in the pecking order at the club.
However, one man who believes the young playmaker could reach the same level as his more illustrious teammates is Oxford manager Karl Robinson, who dubbed Foden the ‘Stockport Iniesta’ in the aftermath of the Carabao Cup clash – as Talk Sport reports.
According to Talk Sport, Guardiola also offered the midfielder strong words of praise, but he ultimately stopped short of agreeing with that particular comparison as he told reporters: “Wow. These are big, big words. I have said many times we are delighted with Phil.
“I am not going to say he is going to become Andres Iniesta because it puts pressure on him, Iniesta is by far one of the best players I ever saw in my life so we cannot put the pressure on Phil.
“But he has the quality to stay here for 10 years because I think he wants to stay, I think the club wants him to. But step by step, he needs to play regularly, but I think he has all the skills to play with us.”
Foden will likely find himself dropped to the bench once again when City return to Premier League action on Saturday against Brighton, but even at his tender age, there is no doubt that he has the talent to make an impact on the pitch when called upon.
— Phil Foden (@PhilFoden) September 26, 2018
Guardiola’s men are currently two points behind Liverpool at the top of the table and need to keep winning to put pressure on their rivals from Merseyside.
Fodens time will come, but in the meantime, he must continue to prove his worth when he gets the chance and keep working hard in training, which could force the Spanish boss to include him more often in the coming months.