Phil Foden has once again staggered opponents in the Champions League, this time with a game-changing cameo off the bench against Atletico Madrid.
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Foden didn’t start the game but less than two minutes after he came onto the pitch he had created the game-winning goal with a superb turn, run and pass in for Kevin De Bruyne who drilled the ball home.
After the match the BT Sport pundit crew were blown away by the brilliance the Englishman showed. But it was Joleon Lescott who held the strongest praise for him: “If he continues as the rate that he’s developing, and the club are developing,” said the former City defender; “then he goes down as arguably the best English player, the most decorated ever.”
Lescott then offered an astounding bit of insight from his time coaching Foden with England u21’s, showcasing just how absurdly commited to self-improvement the young Englishman is: “When I was first with the 21’s they had to remove the balls from the hotel, they had to restrict players doing extras after training because you just couldn’t get him off the training ground.”
On his intense application and effort enduring as he becomes a starter, Lescott said Foden’s attitude is: “I’ve done this to get me here, why would I stop doing it?” Which is impressive and bodes very well for his future.
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This wasn’t the first time Foden had wowed Lescott into making that claim, as after City thrashed Sporting in the previous round he said similar. After that game Phil Foden was naturally at the heart of operations during his time on the pitch, creating an impressive two big chances in just 45 minutes of action before he was taken off at the interval by Guardiola. For some context, no other player on the pitch managed more than one across the entire 90 minutes.
Indeed it doesn’t take long to see the full scope of Foden’s ability. He is a player who seems to have the capacity to accelerate things both on and off the pitch. Where it takes some 90 minutes to rack up impressive metrics, Foden can stat pad in just one half — as was the case this evening.
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And it’s a similar pattern for his mantlepiece. The midfield orchestrator has been a magnet for silverware during his nascent career, and that sentiment was touched upon by former City defender Joleon Lescott before the match, who suggested Foden is on course to become England’s most succesful player ever (in terms of trophies).
“I think he has the capability to finish his career as the most decorated English player,” Lescott told the BT Sport studio.
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Already, Foden has won 10 winner’s medals before he’s even celebrated his 22nd birthday. For him to scale the heights of England’s biggest and best, though, he would have to draw close to another Manchester midfielder, a certain Paul Scholes who won 25 trophies during his playing days.
The former England international averaged a trophy every 29 games during his career for Manchester United. On Foden’s current trajectory of 16 trophies per game, he should match and even surpass Scholes many years before he’s even turned 30.
Having scooped every domestic trophy available to him, though, Foden will no doubt have his heart set on claiming the Champions League. And City certainly look in good shape to cause another splash in Europe’s blue-riband competition this season.