Phil Foden is an “exceptional talent”, admits former Manchester City midfielder Michael Brown, with the 19-year-old facing a tricky decision when it comes to the January transfer window.
The England U21 international was introduced off the bench in the Blues’ latest Premier League outing, but only in stoppage-time of a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace.
That was just his second top-flight appearance of the season, and fifth in total for 2019-20.
The general consensus is that Foden needs more regular game time in order to fulfil his potential, with it suggested that a loan move may be required when the next opportunity to leave the Etihad Stadium presents itself.
“He has to play football,” Brown, who started his career with City, told Goal of an exciting prospect.
“He has to try and play as many games as he can. What I would say is, training with the best players in the world, a great team, great tactical coach to be around, those small amount of games and having trained with these players day in, day out, he’s still learning and developing.
“But, there comes a time when he will need to play every single week.”
Brown added, with Foden having aired his frustration at finding himself on the fringes of the fold under Pep Guardiola: “It’s difficult. You can already see a pathway for him – David Silva – I thought he would have played a little bit more at the start of this season so far.
“I thought he would have got some more minutes. But there are some good games coming up, with the cups etc. In the Champions League, if City can get another win then I’m sure he will play more Champions League games. This time of year is where City could hopefully get him many more minutes before January.”
Foden has been billed as the natural successor to Silva’s playmaking post at City, with Guardiola admitting that is the long-term plan.
Expecting a youngster to fill such sizeable boots is a big ask, especially one who has seen limited game time at an important stage of his career.
“That’s how he’s going to develop,” Brown said when quizzed on the talk of following in the footsteps of a World Cup winner.
“He’s an exceptional talent, we all know that. He needs to get into that flow of playing every week, being game ready and being in that stride of recovering and when the games come already being loaded in the legs and being that little bit sharper.
“They will be aware of that but with the training it’s difficult to have it exactly the same as a match because there are certain situations where you have to go a little bit further.”
City will be back in European action on Tuesday when they take on Ajax, with it possible that Foden could figure in another continental clash after previously netting in a 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb.
Michael Brown was a pundit on EFL on Quest live from The University of Bolton Stadium on Saturday, the home of Bolton Wanderers. Watch all the highlights every Saturday at 9pm. Also available via desktop and app on QuestOD.