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Manager Pep Guardiola clarifies why Phil Foden hasn’t been starting much for Man City

Manager Pep Guardiola clarifies why Phil Foden hasn’t been starting much for Man City

Pep Guardiola has reassured Phil Foden that he should continue to be himself in order to regain his position in the team.

Foden has been a regular starter for Manchester City for the past two years, but has recently found himself out of favor. He has only started five of the team’s 15 games since the World Cup, with mixed results.

Guardiola has attributed Foden’s absence from the team to an ankle injury and the good form of Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez. However, he remains confident in Foden’s abilities and believes he will make a strong comeback.

“(He needs) to be himself,” the manager said. “I saw other players better than him at times after the World Cup. He struggled with his ankle after the World Cup, a lot.

“He played an incredible effort, playing with pain and arrived at the moment when he said ‘Pep, I cannot anymore’, so he had to rest and recover. We gave him a week or two weeks off, and after that Riyad was in his best time of the season and Jack made a step forward.

“It’s not about intention, he’s a lovely guy. If you are saying I don’t trust with Phil, forget about it. Phil is our diamond.”

During Manchester City’s 1-1 draw with RB Leipzig on Wednesday, Pep Guardiola did not make any substitutions. However, he did contemplate bringing Phil Foden into the game.

“Phil can play in the middle, a position more central. It’s not about lack of confidence. I thought about putting him last 15 to 20 minutes to make an impact,” he added. “He always had this, but this season a little less when he came from the bench.

“Phil always had, since he arrived at 17, 18, 19 years old, he played five minutes and it was the best five minutes on the team. This season has not been like that, he struggled with his ankle. I was thinking a lot to put him on but at the moment I felt the team came back to what we were in the first half and I didn’t want to move it.

“Of course the people would not understand it, at the end the referee says the hands, oh sorry it was not hands, in case it was hands, we win with no sub was a good decision. We are exposed.”

“Some players after the World Cup struggled a little. All the clubs a little bit. Phil as well, partly the physical situation. But here comes the best part of the season.

“Always I say to him ‘You are so young, next season is a new one. If you drop a little bit this season compared to the previous one, it’s and absolutely normal process.

“How you handle it, is the question. If you handle it well. He is training like an animal, there’s no doubt about that, and he will be back, like he was back at Nottingham, where he was brilliant, perfect. Just to continue.”

Manager Pep Guardiola clarifies why Phil Foden hasn’t been starting much for Man City

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