Pep Guardiola happy to have kept his checkbook in his pocket this summer as Phil Foden fills Leroy Sane’s boots in Man City – The Sun


PEP GUARDIOLA says the faith he showed this summer has proven him to be sane about prodigy Phil Foden.

Manchester City considered pulling out the checkbook when Leroy Sane injured his cruciate ligament in his knee in August.


Pep Guardiola knew he could count on Phil Foden to replace injured Leroy Sane this seasonCredit: Getty Images – Getty

But the manager insisted they should hang on fire because 19-year-old Foden was able to fill the void left by the German international flying machine.

He showed on Sunday, with a man of the match performance in the Carabao Cup final at Wembley, that he is more than just a central midfielder.

Foden is now hoping for a few more minutes as City continue their FA Cup defense with a fifth home and away back to Sheffield on Wednesday night.

Guardiola said: “People said in the preseason when Leroy got injured that we might have to go to the transfer market.

“I said no, because Phil can play in the middle or off, same.

“I know exactly what their skills are and what exactly we need in specific games. And I know exactly he can do it.

Foden has been used sparingly in Premier League games this season, but Guardiola insists he trusted him on the big occasion before.

He said: “I’m not afraid to put young players in important games and decide to do it.

“I played a final with Phil because I see him every day.

“But whenever we decide to let him play, he always plays well, at a high level.

“Last season he played when we faced Tottenham to win the Premier League after being knocked out of the Champions League by them.

“He also played against Leicester.

“I had no doubts. The only reason Phil and the other players might not be getting the minutes they deserve is because of the team and the important players.

“Some players are more experienced than Phil – something he doesn’t have since he’s 19.

“That’s the only reason why.

“I want the best for him. He will get what he deserves.

“Of course, I am delighted with his performance and his behavior in good times as well as in bad times.

“He’s 19, you have a lot to improve but with his behavior he can achieve anything he wants.”

    Winger Sane hasn't played since he managed just 13 minutes in the Community Shield in August


Winger Sane hasn’t played since he managed just 13 minutes in the Community Shield in AugustCredit: Rex Features

Guardiola said he decided to throw Foden at Wembley because he wanted to give some of the senior players a rest after their famous 2-1 win at Real Madrid the previous Wednesday.

The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez were left on the bench as Guardiola knew others would have a point to prove.

He said: “In my experience when you play against Madrid it’s so physically demanding. Then you have one last three or four days later.

“Anyone who has played against Madrid could have played against Villa but I thought I needed some freshness – not just the legs but also mentally.

I need them angry and wanting to show me that they should have played against Madrid, they want to show how good they are.

“If they follow me that’s okay, if they don’t, they’ve got a problem – their problem, not mine. After that, I can’t do anything more.

With the Community Shield and the Carabao Cup already in the bag, City still have their eyes on two other pieces of silver this season – the FA Cup and the Champions League.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss said the players should have thought of themselves – rather than who they won – before leaving Wembley on Sunday.

Guardiola said: “I learned in the big clubs where I was before – with their history – that when they go to take a shower, then they think about the next trophy.

“It’s so good what we’ve been doing in this competition over the past three years, but now we have another final, outside of the FA Cup.

“It’s always difficult because of the importance of this competition for clubs in this country.

“We can qualify for the quarter-finals – and that’s what we have to do.”

Man City boss Pep Guardiola won’t rush Leroy Sane to first-team despite coming back for the Under-23s


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