Fo­den hits City clincher af­ter De­lap de­but strike

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Mike McGrath at the Eti­had Sta­dium

Phil Fo­den has well and truly put his pre-sea­son Eng­land shame be­hind him. The Manch­ester City mid­fielder res­cued his team last night when their four-year un­beaten run in the EFL Cup looked un­der threat.

The 20-year-old, sent home dur­ing in­ter­na­tional duty for hav­ing fe­male guests at the team ho­tel, fol­lowed his goalscor­ing per­for­mance ear­lier in the week against Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers with the de­cider here af­ter Sam Sur­ridge had can­celled out Liam De­lap’s strike on his City de­but.

Af­ter three suc­ces­sive tri­umphs in the com­pe­ti­tion, City were given a scare by Bournemout­h un­til Fo­den struck. He was their most cre­ative player, in­clud­ing set­ting up De­lap’s opener, and in this form Gareth South­gate may find him dif­fi­cult to ig­nore for next month’s in­ter­na­tion­als af­ter his ill dis­ci­pline in Ice­land on his first call-up.

“Phil is an ex­cep­tional player, he does ev­ery­thing. I have a feel­ing in ev­ery mo­ment of ev­ery game he is mov­ing a step for­ward,” Pep Guardi­ola, the City man­ager, said.

Fo­den was a rel­a­tive vet­eran con­sid­er­ing Guardi­ola’s team con­tained Tay­lor Har­wood-Bel­lis and Tommy Doyle, both 18, while De­lap caught the eye as a lone striker.

De­lap’s fa­ther, Rory, was in the stands, of­fi­cially as a scout for Stoke City, as his son opened his ac­count. The 17-year-old has been at City’s academy for a year and there is some­thing of an old-fash­ioned cen­tre-for­ward about him.

When Fo­den’s ball was threaded through, De­lap nudged ahead of his marker and fired into the top cor­ner with his first shot in se­nior foot­ball. “I wanted to take it first time,” De­lap said. “I saw the keeper com­ing and I thought to just guide it in. To get the

call-up was a dream come true, but to top it off with a win and a goal, I can’t ask for more.”

Guardi­ola says he needs his young play­ers as he has in­jury con­cerns. “We have just 13 avail­able and we need play­ers from the academy,” he said. “Liam will stay with us and we will see if we use him, but he is a young guy, like we said about Phil in pre­vi­ous sea­sons.”

Bournemout­h drew level four min­utes af­ter con­ced­ing. David Brooks cre­ated the chance with a pow­er­ful run and Sur­ridge fired a shot through the legs of Adrian Bern­abe, the 19-year-old Spa­niard who was in at left-back. Bern­abe only lasted 36 min­utes be­fore he was taken off on a stretcher in dis­tress.

Sur­ridge, 22, threat­ened with two chances to get Bournemout­h in front af­ter the in­ter­val, link­ing up with Brooks but see­ing his sight of goal closed out by City de­fend­ers.

Guardi­ola’s re­sponse to his team strug­gling to cre­ate chances was to call for Kevin De Bruyne off the bench, the Bel­gium mid­fielder re­plac­ing Ro­dri and dic­tat­ing play. Then Ra­heem Ster­ling came on with the tie in the bal­ance and the vis­i­tors scent­ing an up­set.

But it was Fo­den who pro­vided the break­through with 15 min­utes re­main­ing. He ex­changed passes with Riyad Mahrez, whose shot hit the base of a post be­fore Fo­den scored from the re­bound.

Top cor­ner: Liam De­lap, 17, opened the scor­ing for Manch­ester City with what was his first shot in se­nior foot­ball

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