Guardiola believes Foden is capable of filling Silva’s boots at Manchester City

Pep guardiola believes Phil Foden can start for Manchester City
Phil Foden

Pep Guardiola is confident Phil Foden can fill the boots of David Silva at Manchester City.

Foden, 19, is set for a rare start as City wrap up their Champions League Group C campaign against Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia.

Veteran playmaker Silva has not travelled due to injury but, as he has already annouonced he is to leave the club at the end of the season, it could be a foretaste of the future.

Foden has long been earmarked as the natural successor to Silva but he has had to wait patiently for his opportunities so far.

City boss Guardiola said: “That is our wish (that he can replace Silva). Of course David is a legend, with the amount of games and titles he has won, but it’s our wish and we believe he can do it.

“He’s growing from last season. There are still some departments he can improve. Sometimes he takes decisions with character and spirit because he is so young, but sometimes he has to think a bit more about decision-making, especially without the ball.

“But it’s normal with his age. His development is perfect. We are more than satisfied with what he is doing with his training and when he plays.”

City have nothing riding on the game in Croatia having already secured top spot in the group and their place in the last 16.

Defender Eric Garcia, 18, is another youngster set to be given an opportunity. City’s problems at centre-back have continued with John Stones suffering a hamstring injury in the loss to Manchester United on Saturday and he is facing a spell out. Fernandinho is also suspended for the Dinamo clash.

Guardiola said: “The two young players are here but all the (rest of the) squad are here and we are going to put a better squad than fans were thinking.

“We are already qualified and the Premier League is more important than the Champions League right now, and we’ll make some changes, but we will try to make a good result.”

City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has challenged his team-mates to pick themselves up after their damaging derby loss.

City’s hopes of a third successive Premier League title now seem in ruins after falling 14 points behind leaders Liverpool.

Speaking at a press conference alongside Guardiola, Gundogan said: “Every single player has to take responsibility to reach his best level again. The sooner we can do that the sooner we’ll be successful again, but it’s a challenge and we have to accept it.

“In general and in life if you are successful and have won so many things, sometimes you lose focus.

“But the more defeats you have the more you recognise that’s not really the way you want to end up and you want to improve again and get to the level you were.

“It’s now the challenge to bounce back as quickly as possible.”

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