Foden starts for Manchester City against Atalanta

By Sports Desk October 22, 2019

Phil Foden will start Manchester City's Champions League Group C match against Atalanta at the Etihad Stadium.

The England Under-21 international's only previous appearance in a first XI this season came when City beat Preston North End 3-0 in the EFL Cup last month.

Nevertheless, there has been a growing clamour for Pep Guardiola to grant more meaningful minutes to boyhood City fan Foden, 19, who came off the bench to complete the scoring in the 2-0 Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb.

Foden lines up alongside Kevin De Bruyne in an attacking midfield position for the Premier League champions, with Guardiola once more leaving fit-again John Stones on the bench and selecting defensive midfield duo Rodri and Fernandinho at centre-back.

The pair contributed to a clean sheet in a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace last time out, while Kyle Walker returns from a bout of illness at right-back.

Sergio Aguero and Riyad Mahrez bolster Guardiola's frontline, with Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus dropping to the bench alongside club captain David Silva.

In contrast to City's 100 per cent record in the round-robin stage, Serie A entertainers Atalanta are yet to pick up a point and Gian Piero Gasperini has plumped for Josip Ilicic ahead of Luis Muriel in attack, despite the Colombia international netting a brace in Sunday's dramatic 3-3 draw at Lazio.

Ilicic is likely to feature at the centre of the visitors' front line as a false nine, with Ruslan Malinovskiy keeping his place out wide.

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