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Pep Guardiola backs Phil Foden to achieve ‘whatever he wants’

The 19-year-old Manchester City midfielder starred in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final victory over Aston Villa.

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Pep Guardiola (left) has hailed Phil Foden (right) (Martin Rickett/PA)

Pep Guardiola (left) has hailed Phil Foden (right) (Martin Rickett/PA)

Pep Guardiola (left) has hailed Phil Foden (right) (Martin Rickett/PA)

Pep Guardiola believes Phil Foden can achieve as much as he wants in the game.

Manchester City’s highly-rated teenager emphasised his huge potential with a man-of-the-match display in Sunday’s Carabao Cup final victory over Aston Villa.

The 19-year-old has been heavily hyped over the past two seasons but City boss Guardiola has only gradually eased him into the first-team picture.

Sunday’s appearance was actually his first outing in a month but, so assured was his display, calls for him to be named in the England squad are growing.

Guardiola said: “I want the best for him and he will get what he deserves. Of course we’re delighted about his performance and his behaviour, in good moments and bad moments, just thinking of work and work, and at the end it always pays off.

“At 19 years old you have a lot to improve but with his behaviour he can reach whatever he wants.”

City have had little time to celebrate their latest League Cup win – their third in succession – as they travel to Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday.

That is of no concern to Guardiola, who has now won 29 trophies in his glittering career and is already thinking about the next one.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss said: “I learnt in the big clubs I was at before, and in their history, when they win a trophy they go and take a shower, and they are thinking in that moment about the next one.

Manchester City’s Kyle Walker, left, sprays Alexander Zinchenko, right, and Phil Foden with Champagne
Manchester City’s Kyle Walker, left, sprays Alexander Zinchenko, right, and Phil Foden with Champagne (Mike Egerton/PA)

“It is so nice what we have done in that competition in the last three years but in this game we have another final.

“Away in the FA Cup is always difficult because of how important this competition is for the clubs in this country. We can go through to the quarter-finals and that is what we have to do.”

Like Guardiola, City have also become accustomed to winning trophies. Sunday’s success was their 11th major triumph since ending a 35-year wait for silverware by winning the 2011 FA Cup under Roberto Mancini.

“There is a lot of effort behind this,” said Guardiola, who has been responsible for six of City’s trophies. “It started more than a decade ago and a lot of people were working here.

“The most important thing was the league when Roberto Mancini was here. It changed the mentality of the club.

Pep Guardiola celebrates another trophy success
Pep Guardiola celebrates another trophy success (John Walton/PA)

“The first one is always the most difficult one and Roberto Mancini and his people and players did it, then other people came after them and continued the process.”

Striker Sergio Aguero is fit after overcoming a knock suffered late in the game on Sunday. Winger Leroy Sane, who has been out since August, will not feature despite playing for the under-23s last week.

Guardiola said: “He is not ready. (After) six months, (it) needs a process. When you start (back training) you feel good but still it is not (right), especially confidence.

“He is doing the normal steps to come back but maybe it will be easier to play in the Premier League, which we don’t have chance to win, than in this cup competition. We need to be incredibly focused all the way through.”

PA