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Pep Guardiola proposes drastic Phil Foden positional change, it's divided opinion

Pep Guardiola proposes drastic Phil Foden positional change, it's divided opinion

Man City manager Pep Guardiola believes Phil Foden has all the credentials to flourish in the role.

It is a question that continues to strike debate in the football community. What is Phil Foden's best position?

In the not-so-distant past, boyhood Manchester City fan Foden has claimed to enjoy drifting in from the right wing but after playing as a number ten against Newcastle on August 19, he confessed to feeling "alive" before suggesting it was his favourite position.

"I think the one I played in against Newcastle, that's my favourite one, that's where I feel comfortable" he told Sky Sports.

"I felt alive in that game, I felt myself more and I could get on the ball and do things. That's always been me as a player and hopefully I can keep playing there and show people what I can do. It [the position] is one I can handle. There's a lot of responsibility, it's not just about going forward."

Foden, who netted 15 times in all competitions last season, has once again thrived in front of goal this term, scoring twice in his last four games.

The England international has largely been used out wide for Manchester City but ahead of their Premier League clash against Arsenal, manager Pep Guardiola said Foden has the potential to flourish as a defensive midfielder.

"When Phil plays as a right-winger, he can do it," said Guardiola. "In the beginning when he played as a left-winger, he played well. In the middle he can play right, left, in the pockets - no problem.

"What I would like in the end is that he plays as a holding midfielder, or one of two holding midfielders. For that, he needs to understand the game as a whole, in everything, not just 'me'.

"But at the same time, he has this instinct, natural, like the big talents, in the final third. I’m not going to stop him. I’m not going to step in and say, 'Don’t do that!' Because he’s unique."

When discussing the the prospect of Foden moving further back in midfield, Guardiola added: "Sometimes it is the step one has to gain as a football player, playing in that position which carries some duties for the team."

Here's how social media reacted to Guardiola's comments.

One fan said: "I think Pep wants to see him operate like Gundogan and Xavi Hernandez/Iniesta at Barca. Phil is super talented and can play anywhere in the midfield," while another wrote: "Holding midfielder? Bros lost it."

A third commented: "I don't think Pep means DM, I think he means he wants Foden to become a better 2nd phase midfielder, receiving from CBs & progressing from deep. We've already seen him do this with Bernardo, who's been deployed in deeper areas a number of times against high pressing teams."

A fourth wrote: "People don't get what Pep is insinuating here, Foden is press resistant and excellent in tight spaces with the ability to manipulate the ball with few touches. Using his best attributes would be best deployed in the second phase of play-- receiving from CBs and progression."

A fifth added: "He wants Foden to play more like Yaya/Bernardo/Modric/Seedorf. A midfielder who operates in deep orchestrating play, but also helping front."


Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

Speaking to Football Focus last month, Foden mentioned that central role against Newcastle but also opened up about his ultimate goal.

"Personally, I want to be one of the best players in the Premier League," he said.

"[I want to] try and show people what I can do - whether that's in that central role I played against Newcastle or out wide. I want to get a run of games, get back in the flow and show people what I'm about. That's my aim."

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Phil Foden, Manchester City, Pep Guardiola, Premier League