This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, John Hartson has suggested Pep Guardiola has “big plans” for Phil Foden and expects Manchester City will need him over the course of the season.
The England U21 international has struggled for game-time in the first-team this season, making just four appearances across all competitions, leading to questions over whether he would be suited to a loan move away.
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Now, Hartson has insisted Guardiola will be aware of Foden’s desire to play, and suggested City could do with a player of his ability in the squad.
He said: “If Foden gets fed up or really feels he’s good enough to play then that’s a conversation he needs to have with his manager.
“But I do think that Guardiola has big plans for Foden. Going out on loan is something that’s worked for other players but Man City could need him.
“Guardiola might be thinking why should I send him out on loan when I could do with him in the squad at City.”
With injuries already sustained by a handful of key players – including Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Kevin De Bruyne – Guardiola will be acutely aware of the need for a big squad.
Hartson went on to add: “He clearly really rates him. It could really give a club a boost if they manage to sign him on loan because he’s different class for his age.
“I think in Foden’s case that he will play a lot more this season than he has in previous seasons.
“Guardiola will understand that the boy will be frustrated and he does want to play games just like everybody else. That’s how footballers should be – they shouldn’t be happy on the bench.”
At just 19-years-old, Foden still has the world at his feet, and has plenty of room for growth. Working under a coach like Guardiola brings him a set of resources he wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.
The Spaniard has worked with some of the greatest players of the modern era, and has coached them to become even better than they are – just look at Raheem Sterling.
So whilst the English prospect may find more regular first-team opportunities elsewhere, there simply isn’t a replica of the kind of coaching Guardiola could give him on a day-to-day basis. His goal against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League showed he is ready to step up to the plate and, as Hartson suggests, City would do well to recognise that he has plenty to offer this season.