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.

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

Latest

Talent Radar1 hour ago

2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #5: Dani Ceballos and Leroy Sane feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Talent Radar12 hours ago

2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 10 Young Defenders – Edition 1

Football News 24/7  Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe,...

Tactical Analysis12 hours ago

Tactical Analysis: Juventus 4-0 Torino | Home side too strong to play against

Ryan Tank writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Serie A match that ended Juventus 4-0 Torino. Torino suffered from...

Scout Report12 hours ago

Scout Report: Axel Tuanzebe | Manchester United’s defensive starlet

Ravi Inder Gill takes a look at Axel Tuanzebe, Man Utd’s young defender waiting in the shadows. In today’s game,...

Extra1 day ago

Interview: Brandon Fernandes on experiencing football outside India, a longer ISL, and FC Goa’s upcoming campaign

Outside of the Boot gets the chance to sit down with FC Goa’s talented midfielder, Brandon Fernandes There’s been a lot...

Scout Report2 days ago

Scout Report: Ousmane Dembélé | Barcelona’s Versatile Winger

Miles Olusina breaks down the abilities of the canny Barcelona and France winger Ousmane Dembélé as he embarks on his...

Scout Report2 days ago

Scout Report: Steven Bergwijn | PSV Eindhoven’s rising star

Wang Yulin takes a look at PSV’s exciting Dutch attacker Steven Bergwijn When you think of the team ‘PSV Eindhoven’,...

Opinions2 days ago

Hanoi FC: The Vietnamese Champions struggling to connect with the locals

Trong Nhan Doan looks at the peculiar case of Hanoi FC Most of the time, the most successful team is...

Opinions2 days ago

Expected Goals: A Pioneering Method of Analysing Football

The Football Code has a look at expected goals, a new metric set to revolutionize statistics-based analysis of football Football...

Tactical Analysis5 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Atletico Madrid | Clash of two organised sides

Ryan Tank analyses the mid-week La Liga clash that ended Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Atletico Madrid The clash of two organized...

Tactical Analysis5 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Schalke 0-3 Bayern Munich | Ancelotti’s men secure hard fought win

Ryan Tank analyses the mid-week Bundesliga match that ended Schalke 0-3 Bayern Munich. Schalke: Fahrmann, Kehrer, Naldo, Nastasic, Caliguri, McKennie...

Talent Radar5 days ago

2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 5 Young Keepers – Edition 1

Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in...

Opinions6 days ago

Déjà vu on Tyneside: Why Newcastle are being left short-changed by familiar failings

Jeffrey Gamby-Boulger looks critically at Newcastle’s repeated failings in recent years and why Mike Ashley is the root of those problems. ‘It’s the same...

Hipster Guide6 days ago

Hipster Guide 2017-18: UEFA Europa League | Part Two

Oliver McManus takes us on a journey through some of the more obscure parts of Europe as he tells us...

Series1 week ago

Tactical Philosophy: Leonardo Jardim

While this website has made its name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it...

Talent Radar1 week ago

Talent Radar 2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #4: Pietro Pellegri and Joshua Kimmich feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Team of the Week with the best young players compiled...

Tactical Analysis1 week ago

Tactical Analysis: Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Swansea City | Tottenham’s half space focus against Swansea’s compact block

Ryan Tank provides a tactical analysis of the Premier League game that finished Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Swansea City  Tottenham attacked...

Scout Report1 week ago

Scout Report: Maxwel Cornet | Lyon’s latest starlet

Josh Sippie breaks down Maxwel Cornet, Lyon’s dynamic attacker. Olympique Lyon just have a knack for plucking supremely talented youth...

Scout Report1 week ago

Scout Report: Marcos Llorente | Real Madrid’s young midfielder

Karan Tejwani provides the lowdown on Real Madrid’s talented midfielder, Marcos Llorente. Real Madrid have made smart purchases from Spanish...

Scout Report1 week ago

Scout Report: Eddie Nketiah | Arsenal’s academy talent

Josh Sippie takes a look at highly-rated Arsenal academy striker Eddie Nketiah. Arsenal’s youth ranks are always going to be...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

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

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot