Daily Star Sunday
PRINCE PHILIP A KING IN WAITING
Kid Foden: I’ll learn from the best at City
‘I loved Iniesta and Silva, and I liked Jack Wilshere, those three were my idols’
MANCHESTER CITY’S teenage ace Phil Foden plans to sprinkle some creative Spanish magic on future England sides.
And given he is learning at The Etihad under managerial great Pep Guardiola, and rubbing shoulders every day in training with midfield maestro David Silva, there appears every chance of him succeeding.
Foden claims working with the inspirational duo from Spain is pure paradise for someone who has modelled his game on the dazzling skills produced in La Liga.
Throw in the fact that Silva also happens to be one of his biggest idols – and it is clear the England Under-21s playmaker is in the perfect place to deliver.
Foden, 18, revealed his lifelong adulation for sublime Silva after winning his fifth cap for Aidy Boothroyd’s young Three Lions last week.
Asked about his liking for a possession-based, passing game – something Gareth Southgate’s senior squad lacks in central midfield – the rising Etihad star said: “It just comes from myself really. I liked to watch Spanish teams when I was younger.
“I’m my own player, I don’t try to copy anyone, but I do like to learn from people. I loved Andres Iniesta and David Silva and I liked Jack Wilshere as well – those three were my idols.
“Every day I was out in the back garden, from morning till night, and I was training every day from a young age. I just loved the ball and playing football. I’d play with my dad sometimes – but mostly on my own.”
As for producing on the international stage, Foden is confident he can add something rarely seen in England teams since the early 90s when Paul Gascoigne was at his dazzling best.
“I’d like to think I can bring something different to the team,” said the lad nicknamed the Stockport Iniesta. “People say say I’m a bit different and it’s a good thing. It’s nice to hear those comments.”
To be making the grade at his beloved City – however gradually right now – and developing his silky skills alongside Silva means Foden is getting the best footballing education going. He may have started only four games this term – all in the domestic cups – but Foden would not change a thing.
He said: “It’s a dream. I’ve been a City fan from very young and I’ve watched these players growing up as well.
“To play with them, to see what they do every day and to learn off them, it’s special.
“David is always giving me advice. Things like knowing your time on the ball and the way that can help you out. He’ll say, ‘Oh, you could have set the ball there instead of turning’.
“It’s just listening to him. Everyone at City is good with that – Vincent Kompany is the same.”
Foden played 73 minutes of the Under-21s’ 1-1 draw with Poland
at Ashton Gate last week – a welcome run-out for a lad who does not get much time on the pitch at The Etihad for Pep’s Quadruple chasers.
However, while he makes his mark on the junior stage, his former City academy team-mate Jadon Sancho, now at Borussia Dortmund, has suddenly become a regular in Southgate’s senior squad.
And for the two Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic on Friday and Montenegro tomorrow, Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, also 18, was another surprise inclusion. With many tipping Foden to be the best of all the Three Lion kids bursting on to the scene, he could be forgiven for feeling envious of their rapid progress.
The reality is the opposite. Foden, who is expected to face Germany this week, insists that Sancho and Hudson-Odoi’s sudden success provides him with even greater motivation.
“It’s good to see Jadon and Callum in the first team,” he added. “It shows the manager trusts younger players. It’s good for the future. “We know we have a chance if we play well at our clubs.”