Reports: Phil Foden being prepped for switch in position
Foden, 21, has been deployed into a deeper central-midfield role, alongside Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva during training so far this season.
McGrath’s reporting seems accurate considering Foden made his first appearance of the season since his peculiar foot injury, replacing Kevin De Bruyne, in yesterdays 6-3 win over RB Leipzig.
Foden’s 20-minute cameo was spent on the right of the midfield, playing alongside Gundogan on the left and Fernandinho in his traditional defensive-midfield role.
Foden’s time in Manchester City’s youth academy was spent playing more centrally, but as a senior player, his most successful appearances have been when he is playing out wide as a forward, either on the right or left.
It was just under a year ago when Pep Guardiola was publicly telling his then 20-year-old star to “slow down” his decision making in the final third. However, his breakout performances last year gives credence to the idea that Foden has improved on that front. His 26 goal contributions in all competitions were second-most last season, only two behind Kevin De Bruyne.
Foden’s ability to be played in a central midfield role gives City even more flexibility in attack. The idea of Foden and Grealish lining up on the same side of the field, while both players take turns rotating out wide seems like a nightmare for defenders. With Mahrez’s continued good form, Jack Grealish’s impressive outings, Raheem Sterling’s resurgence at the Euros and Gabriel Jesus’ revival as winger, City look comfortable with their options out wide.
It remains to be seen if Foden possesses the “pausa” ability that Guardiola has looked for in players like Xavi, Iniesta, Gundogan and Foden’s idol, David Silva. Or if Foden will be used in a more dynamic role similar to De Bruyne.
Written by: @IVIeehan
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