Connect with us

Scout Report

Scout Report: Phil Foden | Man City’s homegrown midfielder

Patrick Mills takes a look at Phil Foden, a youngster who is quickly rising through the ranks at Manchester City. 

While Manchester City’s spending has grabbed most of the headlines in the North-West of England this summer, the citizen’s fanbase will arguably be more excited about a player who didn’t cost them anything. By now, they’re well used to seeing big money signings come through the Etihad doors.

Products from the academy, however, aren’t such a familiar sight. In the past, Micah Richards was one of just a handful of graduates to be given a chance with the Sky Blues.

The likes of Daniel Sturridge and Kieran Trippier have gone on to forge out successful careers elsewhere. Were it not for the club’s takeover in 2008 by Sheikh Mansour, Sturridge, Trippier and other talented youths likely wouldn’t have had to leave to gain first team opportunities. So the downside of the influx of cash and the arrivals of superstars from around the globe, is that City fans would have to curb their desire for homegrown representation.

Part of City’s longer-term plan, however, was to build a development centre to rival that of Barcelona’s and eventually begin to produce their own players.

Almost 10 years on from Mansour’s takeover, not one English player from City’s academy made a Premier League or Champions League appearance last season. In spite of this, Manchester City fans are probably more optimistic than ever about their hopes of seeing ‘one of their own’ play a starring role at the Etihad in the near future. The reason for this new found optimism? Phil Foden.

Who is Phil Foden?

Born in Stockport, Phil Foden has been at Manchester City since the age of 9. Now 17, the young midfielder has been promoted to the first team after excelling for the U18’s last term. He is yet to make his competitive professional debut but stole the show during a 2-0 friendly loss to rivals Manchester United last month. Pep Guardiola just about managed to put his reaction into word form;

“I don’t have words- It’s a long time since I saw something like that. His performance was on another level. He’s special.”

Foden came close to making his City bow last December when he was part of the 18 to face Celtic in the Champions League, becoming the club’s third youngest player to be included in a matchday squad.

Talent Radar Accolades

Foden has also been gaining admirers on international duty. Back in May, he was one of England’s most important players as the U17’s reached the final of the European Championships, ultimately finishing runners up to Spain on penalties. Foden scored twice during the tournament, including a long-range effort against the Spaniards. Over the past 18 months, he has scored 10 times in 16 appearances for the Young Lions.

At club level last season, Foden scored 15 goals in 31 games for the U18’s and was pivotal as they finished runners up in the youth cup. He scored in the final as City were beaten comprehensively by Chelsea. At the end of the campaign, City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak confirmed that along with Brahim Diaz and Jadon Sancho, Foden would join the first team for the 17/18 season.

What is his Style of Play?

Despite being just 5ft 5”, Foden generally operates as a central midfielder. He can also play as an out and out number 10 or cut in from the right onto his stronger left foot. He is dynamic and likes to provide the link between defense and attack by receiving short and carrying the play forward before playing a through ball or feeding the wide areas. He has already been likened to David Silva but arguably has more of an eye for goal than his new teammate. He does, however, have a similar dribbling style with good close control and keeps his head up to allow him to pick out a pass. His slight frame means he has a low centre of gravity, making it easy for him to slalom through opposition lines.

What are his Strengths?

As mentioned already, Foden is excellent at carrying the ball past opponents after drawing them in. His creativity and vision also stand out while despite his slight frame, he protects the ball well and is so rarely dispossessed. As seen with his goal against Spain this summer, Foden has the capacity to shoot from range. His technical profile makes him not only an ideal long-term heir to David Silva, but also means he fits the profile of player that Guardiola wants to work with at City. Kelechi Iheanacho, for example, displayed plenty of goal-scoring potential over the past two seasons but was replaced by Gabriel Jesus in January before being sold this summer.

Guardiola clearly has narrow parameters when it comes to the abilities of his players but given Foden’s skillset, he is more likely to show trust in the youngster. The videos below pinpoint Foden’s main attacking assets. The first highlights his reception skills, press resistance and dribbling. The second shows his ability to arrive in the box and score, as well as his talent for long range shooting.

What are his Weaknesses?

For a player of his age, Foden is fairly well-rounded from a technical point of view. His size may prompt pessimism from some as to whether or not he can cut it at Premier League level. However, his quick feet and, as Guardiola recently pointed out, his tenacity, more than make up for it.

“He’s a fighter. He looks skinny but he is strong.”

A player’s attitude so often proves the deciding factor in whether or not they’ll make the transition from prodigious talent to consistent performer. Guardiola recently referred to him as a humble guy, and while his teammate Jadon Sancho angles for a move by refusing to train, Foden appears to be focused on working hard and taking his opportunities.

Though Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Yaya Toure and Bernardo Silva all currently stand in front of him in the queue for minutes, if Foden can remain patient and continue to listen to the advice of his manager, he may well be the first academy player of the Sheikh Mansour era to break the seal into Manchester City’s so far impermeable first team.

Patrick Mills

Patrick Mills

Patrick is a coach, writer and psychology student from Ireland.
Patrick Mills

100 to Watch


Opinions2 days ago

Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid: Tactical Approach & Key Players

Aamer Aslam writes about what we can expect from European Champions Real Madrid after the arrival of Julen Lopetegui On...

Opinions4 days ago

Carlo Ancelotti at Napoli: Tactical Approach & Key Players

Charles Onwuakpa writes about Carlo Ancelotti and the approach he is likely to take on at Napoli. After three intense...

Scout Report4 days ago

Scout Report: Gonçalo Paciência | Eintracht’s exquisite forward

Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about Eintracht Frankfurt’s striker, Gonçalo Paciência. For those who have been attentively observing...

Talent Radar6 days ago

Talent Radar: Liga MX’s 10 Young Players to Watch in 2018-19

Thomas Harrison writes about the 10 players to watch out for in the Liga MX for this coming season. Mexico...

Talent Radar6 days ago

20 Key Young Players to Watch from 20 La Liga Teams

Tom Canton takes a look at they key young players to watch from each of the 20 La Liga teams....

Scout Report6 days ago

Scout Report: Alphonso Davies | Speedy Canadian winger

Griffin O’Neill writes a detailed scout report about Alphonso Davies, the Vancouver Whitecaps winger. While many still believe that the...

Scout Report6 days ago

Scout Report: Diogo Gonçalves | Benfica’s tricky winger

Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about Benfica’s tricky winger, Diogo Goncalves Having been deprived of their biggest...

Talent Radar7 days ago

Talent Radar: 5 breakthrough players to watch in the Bundesliga

Griffin O’Neill writes about 5 young players breaking through in the Bundesliga this season. Josh Sargent // 18 // Werder...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

20 Key Young Players to Watch from 20 Premier League Teams

Andrew Thompson takes a look at the key young players to watch from each of the 20 Premier League teams...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

Talent Radar: Argentina Superliga’s 10 Young Players to Watch in 2018-19

Tom Robinson briefs us about the 10 best young players to watch in the Argentine Superliga Argentina may have endured...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

Talent Radar: 5 breakthrough players to watch in the Premier League

Hrishi Anand writes about 5 young players breaking through in the Premier League this season. As is the case every...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Unai Emery at Arsenal: Tactical Approach & Key Players

Hrishi Anand writes about what Arsenal fans and the Premier League can look forward to with the arrival of Unai...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Benjamin Pavard | France’s Versatile Star

Jordan McElderry provides a scout report which analyses France and Stuttgart’s promising young defender, Benjamin Pavard In recent years, France...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Diogo Dalot | Manchester United’s New Full-Back

Jose Miguel Saraiva provides a scout report which analyzes Manchester United’s new full-back, Diogo Dalot FC Porto’s achievements last season...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Wendel | Sporting Club de Portugal’s new box-to-box diamond

Jose Miguel Saraiva writes a detailed scout report about Sporting Club de Portugal’s midfielder, Wendel. The 2018/19 pre-season has been...

Talent Radar1 month ago

World Cup 2018: Young Players Team of the Tournament

With an enthralling World Cup 2018 now completed, we an Outside of the Boot recognise the best young players under...

Talent Radar1 month ago

World Cup 2018: Talent Radar Top 5 Young Players

One of the most thrilling World Cup’s in memory came to an end with France lifting the Jules Rimet. While...

Tactical Analysis1 month ago

Tactical Analysis: Croatia 2-1 England AET | Tenacious Croatia punish England’s complacency

Charles Onwuakpa provides us with a tactical analysis of the World Cup semi final that ended Croatia 2-1 England. Croatia...

Tactical Analysis1 month ago

Tactical Analysis: France 1-0 Belgium | Set Piece Decides Game Dominated by Determined Defences

Siyang Xu provides us with a tactical analysis of the World Cup semi final that ended France 1-0 Belgium. France...

Tactical Analysis1 month ago

Tactical Analysis: Croatia 2-2 Russia | Modric and Rakitic make the difference

William Sinsky provides us with a tactical analysis of the World Cup quarter final that ended Croatia 2-2 Russia, with...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

More on Outside of the Boot