Pep Guardiola says Phil Foden remains Manchester City’s “diamond” and has backed him to sparkle in the remainder of the campaign. Foden has struggled to get a starting place since the World Cup after first battling an ankle injury and then finding Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez keeping him on the bench.
Of City’s 15 post-Qatar matches, he has started just five. But ahead of this weekend’s trip to Bournemouth, Guardiola has assured fans that their favourite will not stay in the shadows much longer with the City boss claiming Foden is training “like an animal”.
And he has assured the player that he still has plenty to contribute as City move towards the business end of the campaign. “After the World Cup I saw other Players better than him at times and he struggled with his ankle a lot,” Guardiola said.
“He made an incredible effort, playing with pain but arrived at the moment when he said ‘Pep, I cannot any more’, so he had to rest and recover. We gave him a week or two weeks off, and after that Riyad was in his best time of the season and Jack made a step forward.
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“How you handle it, is the question. If you handle it well – and he is training like an animal there’s no doubt about that – he will be back, like he was back at Nottingham, where he was brilliant, perfect. Now he just has to continue.”
City take on Bournemouth, a side which has lost all 11 Premier League games against them, in this weekend's late afternoon kick-off knowing Arsenal’s result against Leicester City.
And they look likely to be boosted by the return of Kevin De Bruyne. The City midfielder missed the trip to RB Leipzig on Wednesday with illness but trained on Friday.