EPL

Foden cannot imagine playing for anyone but Man City

By Sports Desk February 06, 2021

Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden wants to spend the rest of his career with the club and cannot imagine playing anywhere else.

Boyhood City fan Foden came through the youth ranks and served as a ball boy at the Etihad Stadium before breaking into Pep Guardiola's first team as a 17-year-old.

This season he is enjoying an increasingly prominent role in Guardiola's plans and made his senior international debut with England.

Last month's 5-0 win at West Brom was Foden's 100th appearance for the City first team and, ahead of Sunday's crunch clash with champions Liverpool at Anfield, he told BBC Football Focus he is in it for the long haul.

"I can only see myself playing for Manchester City, considering how much I've supported them from a young age," he said.

"It always helps when you play for a club you support.

"When I was younger, it was a dream to play for the club, so never did I think I would make it to 100 appearances so early.

"I gave the shirt from that [West Brom] game to my family and they got it framed."

Foden was named player of the tournament when England won the Under-17 World Cup in 2017 and since then, both from the City fanbase and those outside the club, there has been a clamour for Guardiola to grant him more playing time.

Only Rodri and Raheem Sterling have made more than Foden's 27 appearances in all competitions this season, while his 1,836 minutes played are the sixth most in the squad.

A chunk of his 20 starts came earlier in the campaign in midweek cup encounters as City moved towards a fourth consecutive EFL Cup final appearance and negotiated a favourable Champions League group they shared with Porto, Marseille and Olympiacos.

However, since making a spot on the left wing his own in mid-December, he has unquestionably become one of Guardiola's go-to men.

In the Premier League, City's win percentage rises from 63.6 to 70 when Foden starts, while they average 18.2 shots across those games - up from 13.6 when he does not feature in the XI.

"I wouldn't say I'm doing anything different this season, just playing more of an attacking role," said Foden, who is joint-second in City's scoring charts in 2020-21 with nine goals.

"In previous years, I've played in the middle. Now I'm out wide and you always get confidence when you score in back-to-back games.

"Sometimes you get lucky when chances fall to you. I just enjoy scoring goals and that's what I wanted to add to my game."

City only won three of their first eight Premier League games this season, culminating in a 2-0 loss at Tottenham in November.

They have only dropped four points since then and boast a nine-match winning run in the top flight.

Guardiola's men are three points better off than Manchester United at the top of the table and seven clear of Liverpool in fourth, with a game in hand on both.

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