There is absolutely no question that Manchester City’s Phil Foden is a Premier League quality midfielder. He might be just 19 years old, but the Stockport-born star is a top talent in his own right and likely one of the shining stars of the future for both club and country.
However, he finds his minutes on the pitch limited.
Unlike so many young stars to come before him, that has nothing to do with himself. Foden hasn’t blossomed too early or stumbled before meeting his potential. Instead, he is simply being cursed by the creative plethora at manager Pep Guardiola’s disposal.
Manchester City have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to midfield maestros, meaning no matter Foden’s own footballing ingenuity he is destined to continually be down the pecking order to superstar names like Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva.
Sporadic minutes are Foden’s best opportunity in a light blue jersey, and that is a disservice to one of England’s finest young talismans.
He should be playing week in, week out and frankly on past performances alone it should be at the highest level.
Naturally, that means somewhere away from the Etihad. At least, temporarily. Manchester City would be beyond foolish to allow Foden to be tempted away on a permanent basis, but they should think seriously about allowing the 19-year-old a temporary secondment away to taste regular playing time.
Guardiola wants to ensure that his squad is always at its strongest but allowing a star like Foden to simply stagnate in reserve for the senior side risks the wonderkid not reaching the highest of heights. Currently, they’re still in his grasp, but for his development he requires regular football.
Come January, if Manchester City want to see the most out of their young star in years to come, they may well have to loosen the reigns on him in the short-term. Seeing him head out elsewhere, whether that be an upper Championship side – where he would dominate the opposition – or more aptly a fellow Premier League side, would give him the time he needs.
Time is still on Foden’s side, however. His progress may have been slowed a little, but should he be allowed to showcase his significant array of skills elsewhere in the short term, he can still reach the level his immense talent suggests he is one day capable of