Even as a coach who witnessed the rise of Lionel Messi at Barcelona, Pep Guardiola was rendered momentarily speechless by Phil Foden’s debut for Manchester City.
‘I would like to have the right words to describe what I saw,’ Guardiola told Daily Mail ‘You are the lucky guys who saw the first game.
‘It’s a long time since I’ve seen something like this. He’s 17 years old, he’s a City player, he grew up in the academy, he loves the club, he’s a City fan and, for us, he’s a gift.’
The Manchester City boss believes the under 17s World Cup victory in India on Saturday points the way to an exciting future.
City midfielder Phil Foden was named player of the tournament after helping England to their remarkable 5-2 comeback win over serial finalists Spain.England’s triumph crowned a glorious year in which the under 20s also won their age-group World Cup and the under 18s were crowned European champions.
And Guardiola, who captained his country before becoming a coach, said: “This happened in Spain.
Guardiola knew of Foden’s prodigious talent even before he left Bayern Munich to take over at City. England manager Gareth Southgate, too, has been tracking Foden’s progress since he was 14
Now the whole world knows about the Stockport-born midfielder who inspired England U17s to victory over Spain in the World Cup final in Kolkata .For those who have followed Foden’s career from the start, it has come as no great surprise
Guardiola says Foden will get his chance at City: “Phil has been with us (the first team) since the beginning of the season.
“He trains with us every single day. He’s just 17 but he is in our squad. He’s in the locker room every day with the guys – it’s the best way to learn from the experienced guys that have played at a high level.
“That guy will grow and play in a World Cup in the future. Now he has lived that situation and knows what he has to do.
“In which position did he play to score two goals? When he comes back we will put him in this position. He scores two goals in the final!”
Victorious U17 boss Steve Cooper said: “For me, it’s recognition of where English football not just is, but where it can go and where we want it to go.”