Guardiola backs Foden to become heartbeat of City team after Silva departs

By Sports Desk December 10, 2019

Pep Guardiola remains convinced Phil Foden has the ability to become the heartbeat of the Manchester City team after David Silva leaves the club.

Silva, 33, has already confirmed his intention to depart City at the end of the season when his contract expires, bringing a 10-year spell at the club to a close.

The Spaniard has become a City icon, with many of the opinion he has been the Premier League's greatest foreign import, enjoying great success and consistency.

He has mostly been kept back for Premier League action this term, making only two appearances in the Champions League, and he will be missing again for Wednesday's trip to Dinamo Zagreb, with Sergio Aguero and John Stones also absent.

"All three are injured," Guardiola confirmed to reporters on Tuesday. "David had a huge kick in the dangerous part of his leg and it is too much of a risk to play.

"John is out for the next weeks, Sergio is better but he is not ready."

Silva's absence means England Under-21 international Foden is likely to get a rare start.

The 19-year-old is highly rated at City and has shown glimpses of immense talent in his short career, but he has only been afforded 83 minutes of Premier League football this season.

Guardiola has been accused of underusing the midfielder, though he insists his faith in Foden is unwavering, confident he can be a key player once Silva leaves.

When asked if Foden will be the heartbeat of City's team from next season, Guardiola said: "That is our wish.

"Of course David is a legend – the amount of games, the amount of titles, but that is our wish and we believe he [Foden] can do it.

"He can do it, in small spaces he is so good, Phil. He has this incredible quality for the first reception in small spaces – also the box to box, like a typical English player. He will get the minutes he needs at his age right now.

"Always he has a good impact coming from the bench. Some players don't have an impact coming from the bench, always I have that feeling from Phil.

"Against Atalanta we believed he could play an incredible game and he did it. Alongside him are Rodri, [Ilkay] Gundogan, Kevin [De Bruyne] – many players, but I never doubt about him [Foden]. Whether he plays 90 minutes, 20 minutes or not one single minute, the confidence is always there."

Another highly rated prospect will face City in the form of Dani Olmo, whom Guardiola jokingly suggested was one of hundreds of players the Premier League champions want to buy.

"We want to buy 100 players every month," he quipped. "One of them is Olmo. We'll see.

"He's an incredible surprise, he came from Barcelona's academy and it's not easy to come here [Zagreb], and with the Spain Under-21s he was one of the best players.

"So, maybe it's the last year or one of the last years he's here, then he'll go to one of the big clubs to compete for a big name. I'm so glad for him, he's doing so well in this league and the Champions League – the future is in his hands."

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