Phil Foden’s lack of game time at Manchester City will not dissuade youngsters from joining the Premier League champions, according to Pep Guardiola.
Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola has frequently spoken of his admiration for Foden, calling him “the most talented player” he has coached, but the teenager has still managed just 10 minutes as a substitute in the Premier League this season.
The 19-year-old is considered the finest player to have emerged from City’s academy in recent years but, despite significant investment in their youth teams, graduates at the club have struggled for playing time due to the raft of established senior stars blocking their path.
Yet Guardiola is not worried about youngsters snubbing City for other opportunities.
“No. I don’t think so,” he said.
“If a guy, we seduce him – agents and players – and they want to come, they can come.
“I don’t see the age [as a problem]. If the players want to come, they will come. If they don’t want to come, they don’t come.
Says all you need to know pic.twitter.com/zEmwdggfdY
— Phil Foden (@PhilFoden) October 1, 2019
“I said many times what is my opinion of Phil Foden. Everybody in this room knows my opinion of Phil Foden, so he’s 18, 19 years old, plays quite enough minutes in this period.
“He will play a lot this season and the next seasons.”
Guardiola, who led City to a domestic treble in 2018-19, has an enviable array of midfield talent at his disposal and has preferred to utilise Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and David Silva ahead of Foden.
While Foden appears content to bide his time having signed a new contract last year, Jadon Sancho, two months Foden’s senior, sought pastures new and is now a regular with both Borussia Dortmund and England.
Guardiola admits the need to challenge for multiple trophies every year means City cannot adopted a youth-first policy, such as the one Frank Lampard has overseen at Chelsea this term.
“This team needs to win titles and prizes,” Guardiola explained. “The process for the young players needs time and the best way is step by step for the players that we have.
“The demand for the club – not to win the Champions League, but to be in there all the time for all competitions, for that it needs the players that we have.
“What can I say? The talent is there and when they are talented, they will play. At the same time we have to compete every single day to fight with the best teams in England and Europe.
“For that we need David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and all these types of players. With the young, young players, you cannot win. The young players can help the other ones but the basis for the young, it’s not possible.”