Manchester City will not allow Phil Foden to go out on loan next season, according to the Daily Mirror.
The 18-year-old has been a part of Pep Guardiola’s first-team squad this term, making 23 appearances in all competitions.
The Mirror report that a number of Premier League clubs have expressed an interest in loaning Foden ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.
But manager Guardiola is said to believe that his development will be better served by remaining at the Etihad Stadium.
Despite his gradual acclimatisation to the first-team, Foden has still yet to start a Premier League game for the club and has never played more than 21 minutes on any single occasion in the competition.
He has played 90 minutes in FA Cup encounters with Rotherham and Newport County, scoring three goals across those two games, as well as in EFL Cup clashes with the likes of Oxford United, Fulham and Burton Albion. Foden came off the bench to score his first Champions League goal in midweek, too, in a 7-0 thrashing of Schalke.
Foden signed a long-term contract until 2024 in December and the Mirror claim that there will be opportunities for him to deputise for the ageing David Silva at various points in the coming months.
If Foden is so highly regarded in Manchester, he should be allowed to go on loan.
Yes, he has learnt from the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Silva while training with the first-team but there can be no substitute for playing games every week.
As it stands, his appearances in the biggest competitions are fleeting and he is not given much of a chance to make an impression. Even his Champions League cameo in midweek lasted under half an hour.
Allowing him to play for another Premier League side would be something of an acid test; he would be forced to step out of the comfort zone of City’s super-team and look to dig results out lower down the table.
His development would not be compromised, quite the opposite. In fact, Foden’s development is at equal risk of saturating by staying with City – it would be wrong to say he isn’t being challenged at the Etihad, but there is an obvious safety in deputising in a team that keeps so much possession. Eventually, Foden’s game could become simplistic and passive.
At 18, the midfielder is a superb prospect. Guardiola should let him spread his wings and fly, instead of attempting to keep him on the ground.