In an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, former Newcastle United and England midfielder Rob Lee has backed Pep Guardiola’s benching of Phil Foden, stating the Spaniard still rates him highly.
Foden has made 13 starts in the Premier League this season registering six goals and three assists. This is his best season on paper for City, however, many England fans and Gareth Southgate will want him to be getting more starts after not doing so in the previous four Premier League games.
Lee admits his age may be the only thing holding him back in Manchester City’s side, which is full of world-class stars. However, if he is to avoid burn out as he gets older, it’s important he has his minutes managed which Guardiola has been doing since the 20-year old broke into the first team.
Lee knows how much of a talent Foden is and fully expects him to be selected for the Euros by Southgate this summer.
Foden has the ability, but Lee has outlined what he needs to become a regular starter for City, telling FFC. “Probably get a bit older. That’s all.
“He’s not being left out because he’s not playing well. It’s just because Pep is giving him a rest.
“Without a doubt, he’ll go to the Euros for us. He’s been playing that well.
“I think Pep rates him very, very highly, but I just think he’s said these days, we’ve got loads of games coming up. You’re going to play loads of games.
“I just think he knows when to rest him.”
Foden could be a player who Man City build their future teams around if he continues to develop the way he has done the last few years.
Perhaps Guardiola is just protecting him from fatigue and potential injuries from playing too many games.