Manchester City kick off their 2021/22 Carabao Cup campaign with a clash against League One outfit Wycombe on Tuesday night.
Pep Guardiola’s side are looking to defend the crown after beating Tottenham 1-0 in the final last season, when Aymeric Laporte’s goal was enough to secure the trophy for City against a Ryan Mason-led Spurs side.
They now head into this clash with Wycombe off the back of a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Southampton at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League at the weekend.
One player who needs to be thrown into the starting XI is England international and City academy product Phil Foden. He is yet to start a match in any competition this season after a recent injury, but he made his first appearance in the league as a substitute against the Saints.
It could now be time for Guardiola to unleash the attacking midfielder from the start. Playing 70-80 minutes against lower league opposition could help to get him back up to speed after a number of weeks out, whilst his ability on the pitch could help City to victory.
Guardiola once hailed Foden as an ‘incredibly talented’ player, rejecting calls for him to be loaned out at the time. The Spaniard said: “The people say he doesn’t play too much. He is 18 years old and he has played a lot of minutes.
“The people say he should be on loan; Phil Foden will not be on loan. All the time he is here he will be close to me because he is an incredibly talented player.”
The 21-year-old can be a game-changer with his talent and has proven this for City on several occasions. Last season, he managed nine goals and five assists in 17 Premier League starts, with two goals and two assists in four Carabao Cup starts.
This shows that he has the quality to score and set up goals on a regular basis when unleashed from the start, which is why Guardiola must name him in his XI against Wycombe. Foden’s craft and guile could help to pick off the League One outfit and enable to him build up his match fitness ahead of important Premier League and Champions League matches.