This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
When you’re challenging on multiple fronts, it’s understandable for a manager to simply want to play his best eleven week-in and week-out. After all, they stand the best chance of winning a game. But management is about getting the whole squad to fire on all cylinders, and Pep Guardiola has had his struggles in doing that.
Last season, Riyad Mahrez was left to wallow on the side-lines, with the Manchester City boss publicly admitting he felt guilty about not playing him. Now, it’s Phil Foden who appears to be the hot topic of conversation.
The England U21 international scored against Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League in mid-week, and the goal prompted Guardiola to come out and apologise for the youngster’s lack of first-team involvement.
The indoor football skills in the video below have to be seen to be believed…
On Sunday, the Spaniard has the perfect opportunity to back up his words and play Foden. A home clash against 13th placed Wolves provides the City manager with no excuse but to allow his prized starlet the chance to shine.
Despite playing the full 90 minutes against Dinamo, Benjamin Mendy will surely continue to be eased into first-team action after his long-term injury.
As such, Oleksandr Zinchenko should return at left-back against Nuno Espirito Santo’s men at the weekend. On the opposite flank, Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker are in direct competition over the right-back role, although the latter has featured in all seven Premier League games so far this season, and will most likely get the nod once again.
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In midfield, Rodri has been another ever-present in the City line-up, whilst Kevin De Bruyne’s injury means there is perhaps no better time than now for Guardiola to finally place his faith in Foden. The stage is set for him to take over the creative duties from the Belgian, and if he can produce a fine display at the Etihad, the 19-year-old could be set for a more permanent stay in the first-team.
Mahrez and Raheem Sterling will be hoping to continue their fine form this campaign – the duo have scored twelve goals and provided a further nine assists between them. Up front, Gabriel Jesus scored against Everton in the league last time out, but with Liverpool continuing their flawless run, surely Guardiola must go with the tried-and-trusted option of Sergio Aguero.