Ivan Toney responded to his failure to make England's World Cup squad by firing Brentford to a stunning 2-1 victory over Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, preventing the champions from going top of the Premier League.

Brentford went ahead after 16 minutes when Toney nodded beyond Ederson, but City levelled through Phil Foden's brilliant half-volley after pinning the visitors back.

However, Pep Guardiola's men struggled to break down the stubborn Bees in a stop-start second half, and Toney finished off a fine Brentford break by tapping home a dramatic winner in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

The result saw City sign off for the World Cup break in frustrating fashion, leaving them two points behind leaders Arsenal ahead of the Gunners' trip to Wolves later on Saturday. 

 

Manchester City already have one of the best players in the world in Erling Haaland. Having tied Phil Foden to a new contract, they believe they will soon have another.

Foden's long-awaited five-year deal was announced by City on Friday ahead of a big trip to Anfield this weekend.

This fixture, away at Liverpool, has seen Foden deliver two of his most complete performances in a City shirt in the previous two seasons, scoring and assisting in a 4-1 win in the 2020-21 campaign before grabbing another goal in last term's 2-2 draw.

Now, those sorts of displays are arriving with even greater consistency, prompting an even more prominent role for arguably England's brightest prospect.

When Pep Guardiola shuffled his pack at Copenhagen in midweek to rest key men for the Liverpool match, it was Haaland and Foden who dropped to the bench.

Haaland's 20 goals in 13 matches this season have stolen the show, but Foden, who matched the Norway forward in netting a Manchester derby hat-trick at the start of the month, has seven in 13 from a wide position.

With three assists, too, Foden is contributing a goal involvement every 81 minutes – more than justifying the faith City have shown in him by agreeing new terms.

"We are all so proud of Phil and what he has achieved already," said City director of football Txiki Begiristain. "But we know there is so much more to come.  

"His natural talent and ability are obvious, but his hard work, professionalism and dedication make him really special. He loves football more than anything, and his desire to improve is really incredible.  

"We feel he can progress further and become even better than he is today.

"By signing this contract, he now has stability and can focus absolutely everything on becoming one of the best players in the world, which we feel he can be."

Foden is still only 22 but has four Premier League titles to his name. Ryan Giggs, who won a record 13, had only three by the time he turned 23.

Although Foden has already tallied over 10,000 minutes across 182 first-team appearances, he initially had to bide his time under Guardiola.

Foden started only three matches in all competitions in the 2017-18 season and 11 the following campaign. Even in the season after that, 2019-20, when he had 17 goal involvements, just 18 of his 38 appearances were starts.

Now, however, the boyhood City fan is one of the first names on the team sheets in the biggest games – this Sunday's fixture undoubtedly included.

"He's not a young talent any more," Kevin De Bruyne said late last season of a team-mate then still just 21. "He's one of the guys."

Foden had 16 goals and 10 assists in 50 matches in 2020-21, then 14 goals and 11 assists in 45 matches last time out.

He appears certain to scale new heights this season alongside Haaland, who has assisted two of his seven goals, with De Bruyne teeing up three.

In the Premier League, Foden has six goals through City's first nine matches, doubling his output at this stage of last season – then a career high.

Guardiola's patient approach has clearly paid off, as Foden himself added on Friday: "I think he has made me 10 times the player I was."

There never appeared any doubt Foden would be staying at City, but that does not make Friday's news and the prospect of five more years in this side any less daunting to their title rivals.

Phil Foden has signed a new five-year contract with Manchester City, committing his future to the Premier League champions until June 2027.

The England international reportedly began negotiations over fresh terms more than 12 months ago, with a change in the creator's management delaying the finalisation of his new deal.

However, the Stockport-born playmaker has now reached an agreement over his future, having emerged as a key part of Pep Guardiola's team since his November 2017 debut.

"It's hard to put into words how happy I am to have signed this contract. It's a dream come true," he told the club's official website.

"I have been a City fan all my life. I've trained here for so many years and I've even been a ballboy. I love this club so much, so to know I am going to be a part of it until 2027 feels amazing.

"I've improved a lot in recent years and so much of that is down to Pep and his staff, who guide me every single day on the training field. Working with them gives me the best chance of improving even more and becoming the best player I can be.

"With the squad we have here, I feel I can keep learning and winning trophies. Those are the two most important things to me."

Foden has won four league titles and five domestic cups with City, as well as being named the Premier League's Young Player of the Season in each of the last two campaigns.

The 22-year-old has also started the new season in excellent form, scoring seven goals across 13 appearances in all competitions.

That includes a hat-trick in City's recent 6-3 drubbing of rivals Manchester United, a game where Erling Haaland also secured the match ball with a trio of goals himself.

Sergio Aguero has compared Manchester City talisman Erling Haaland to the likes of Lionel Messi and Ronaldo Nazario, backing the Norwegian to continue breaking records with Pep Guardiola's team.

Haaland has scored 20 goals in just 13 appearances since joining City from Borussia Dortmund, sending records tumbling during an incredible start to life in England.

The 22-year-old set a new Premier League record in August by scoring nine times in his first five outings, and he became the first player to score a hat-trick in three consecutive home games in the competition by starring in a 6-3 win over Manchester United this month.

Haaland's spectacular start in Manchester has earned him lofty praise from City legend Aguero, who has compared him to two South American greats.

"There's been many strikers worthy of awe I can think of," Aguero told Stake.com. "One of my favourites was Ronaldo Nazario, who time and time again proved to be the full package as a player, and a menace before the goalposts.

"Each era usually has two or three players with that ability – and usually with different styles. 

"Diego [Maradona], Romario, [Robert] Lewandowski, [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, and Leo, of course! Each had their own flair, but they were all tremendous scorers to a fault.

"Speaking of Haaland specifically, he's got potency, athleticism, and a particular instinct for goals, which makes him very dangerous. 

He's got everything to keep racking up amazing stats, especially being part of an offensively-minded team like City. That in turn means plenty of opportunities to score. 

"He's young and has a lot of potential to continue breaking records. Key to this, of course, will be consistency."

Aguero – City's all-time top scorer with 260 goals for the club in all competitions – believes Haaland, supported by the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden, is the ideal man to lead the club into a new era.

"When I left City, I shared how proud I was to have been part of a generation of players that made it one of the top clubs in the world," he added.

"That was a re-foundational period, with many big changes, that allowed City to become a force to be reckoned with.

"I also said it'd be up to a new generation to maintain this status and reach new heights. I think this new team is ready for that. 

"Kevin [De Bruyne] has an amazing record as a player, Haaland is on the right path. But it's not just the two of them. Phil Foden – my own favourite, Bernardo [Silva], [Ilkay] Gundogan, Rodri, [Aymeric] Laporte... each of their contributions make the team stronger."

Erling Haaland continued his remarkable scoring run as Manchester City climbed above Arsenal at the Premier League summit after a commanding 4-0 victory over Southampton.

City soon eased into the ascendancy at Etihad Stadium as Joao Cancelo and Manchester derby hat-trick hero Phil Foden struck in a first half where a tepid Southampton offered little.

Riyad Mahrez stretched the advantage after the break before Haaland collected his 15th league goal, as many as Kevin De Bruyne managed when finishing as City's top scorer in the competition last term.

Pep Guardiola's team moved two points clear of Arsenal, who play Liverpool on Sunday, after their ninth straight home win in the league, scoring at least three goals in each of those games.

 

Former City goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu parried away a fizzing Mahrez half-volley, while Haaland struck the left post after a Foden throughball in a frantic start.

Cancelo broke the deadlock in the 20th minute as he twisted past James Ward-Prowse before drilling a left-footed strike past Bazunu, who then denied Foden on the half-hour mark.

However, there was no stopping Foden shortly after as the England international delicately chipped over the onrushing Bazunu following De Bruyne's pass.

Mahrez volleyed in a third goal from Rodri's lofted cross shortly after half-time, before City had a penalty appeal turned down for what they thought was a Mohammed Salisu pull on Haaland.

Southampton could not keep Haaland quiet for much longer, with their new talisman converting into the bottom-left corner in the 65th minute after Cancelo's cutback.

What does it mean? City dominant as Saints away woes continue

A 6-3 humbling of Manchester United and a 5-0 victory in Europe over Copenhagen were backed up in dominant fashion by City against Southampton, with Guardiola's side showing no signs of relenting.

While a tougher task will follow at Anfield against Liverpool next week, City continue to sweep aside opponents at will as they search for a fifth top-flight crown in the last six seasons.

Meanwhile, Southampton's away struggles persist, and boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is under serious pressure now. They are without a clean sheet in their last 19 Premier League away games – both the longest current run in the league and their worst such streak in the competition.

De Bruyne makes history

De Bruyne has been in incredible form throughout the start of this season and picked up yet another assist after teeing up Foden – the ninth goal the Belgium international has set up in as many Premier League games this season.

The simple throughball for Foden also marked De Bruyne's 94th assist in the Premier League for City, surpassing David Silva for the most goals created for the club in the competition.

Haaland is human

Haaland has taken to life in England with ridiculous ease, scoring 20 goals in 13 games across all competitions and breaking numerous records along the way.

After just nine Premier League games, the striker needs just one more goal to surpass City's top scorer last season, De Bruyne, which is frankly astonishing.

He missed a few chances here, though, and looked on in disbelief when his shot that rattled the left post did not bounce into the net off the upright.

What's next?

City head to Copenhagen to play in the Champions League on Tuesday, before the crunch clash at Liverpool arrives next Sunday, when Southampton host West Ham.

Erik ten Hag said he was "surprised" by Manchester United's "lack of belief" after their comprehensive 6-3 loss to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Erling Haaland and Phil Foden both scored hat-tricks as City produced a dominant performance against their rivals on Sunday, though a second-half brace from Anthony Martial and a long-range strike from Antony allowed the Red Devils to salvage some pride.

As a result, Ten Hag joined United predecessors David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick in losing his first Premier League match against City.

Asked what went wrong for United, who came into the game on the back of four successive league wins, Ten Hag told Sky Sports: "A lack of belief. 

"I'm surprised, why we didn't bring it on the pitch. I've seen – since, obviously, four weeks ago – a different team, a different spirit, a different fight and a level of commitment. 

"Today we didn't have commitment. From the first minute on, we were not on the front foot, we were not brave in possession"

Pushed on why he thought United fell short of their recent standards, the Dutchman added: "It's always difficult to find out. 

"I have to talk with my players and find out. They know they got better [in recent games], I saw the performances against Arsenal and Liverpool.

"But if you don't fight, which they didn't, then you have a problem against a team like Man City."

Sunday's defeat represents just the fourth time United have conceded six goals in a Premier League match – two of which have come against City (also in a 6-1 loss in October 2011).

United's last league reverse was also a comprehensive one, but Ten Hag said the defeat at the Etihad was not comparable to last month's 4-0 thrashing at Brentford.

"I don't think you can compare it," he said. "It's definitely like it was against Brentford mentally, but it's different.

"Against Brentford we didn't run. Today, we wanted to run, but we didn't follow the principles or rules. Once again, it was a lack of belief."

While Ten Hag was pleased with Martial's contribution following his second-half introduction, he said it was impossible to take many positives from an "unacceptable" display. 

"He had a really good pre-season and I'm happy for him that he scored goals, and also for Antony, but in this moment I cannot express for the outside world always positives," Ten Hag added.

"We are highly disappointed about this result and that has to be the tone for this Sunday. We have to accept that, but our performance is unacceptable.

"As a team, as individuals, we will criticise each other tomorrow, and then we have to learn the lessons and do better, starting next game.

"A team like City, they give you the status where you are at this moment. We did well against top teams like Liverpool and Arsenal. We were disciplined and followed the rules and the principles and we had the belief to play. 

"We were on the front foot in defending and you can bring a good performance and a result.

"When you're not on the front foot and when you're not brave enough to play, you get the result like today."

Manchester City talisman Erling Haaland described his derby hat-trick as "amazing", while Phil Foden referred to his own treble as a "dream come true" after the pair dominated against Manchester United.

A contest that saw nine goals was never in doubt as Foden and Haaland scored three each in a 6-3 victory for City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

A strike from Antony and an Anthony Martial brace gave United some consolation in the second half, but it was a dominant win for Pep Guardiola's men.

Foden's second goal of the day was his 50th in all competitions for City, making him the youngest player to reach that figure under Guardiola at the age of 22 years and 127 days, surpassing Lionel Messi (22y 164d).

Speaking to Sky Sports after the win, Foden hailed the partnership he has already built with Haaland following the latter's move from Borussia Dortmund.

"Obviously it's a dream come true [to score a hat-trick], playing in the derby, being a City fan as well," the England international said.

"Me and Erling have built that connection now and we're finding each other and it's a pleasure to be a part of the team.

"I think our determination [showed] from kick-off, we were looking right at it and we finished our chances."

Haaland became the first player in Premier League history to score hat-tricks in three consecutive games, while also becoming the first City player to score a hat-trick against United since Francis Lee in December 1970, before Foden followed suit shortly after.

"Yeah, not bad," Haaland joked, also speaking to Sky Sports. "We scored six goals, what can you say? It's amazing to win at home, score six goals here and yeah, nuts.

"You can see it all the time, the passes we give each other, we always want to go forward, we always want to attack and this is what I love about the team, we always want to go and to attack and yeah, in the end it's amazing. There's nothing more to say."

When asked who was getting the match ball, Foden asked Haaland if they were having one each.

"Yes I think we have to," the Norwegian assured his team-mate. "One ball for the first half and one for the second half."

Manchester United players "should be embarrassed" after their 6-3 defeat to local rivals Manchester City, says former Red Devils midfielder Roy Keane.

First-half doubles from Erling Haaland and Phil Foden had United four goals down at half-time, before they both capped off their hat-tricks after the interval as United conceded six in a Premier League game for just the fourth time.

And despite a late double from substitute Anthony Martial and a superb strike from Antony in consolation, Keane was fuming with United's performance after Sunday's match.

"It was the way they started - they were slow out of the blocks. City sent a message that they were up for it, and the first goal is huge," Keane told Sky Sports.

"United went down after eight minutes and they never recovered.

"There were spaces everywhere, they were sloppy in possession. Marcus Rashford never got hold of it, the wide players gave it away.

"Every time Man City went forward, they looked like they were going to score. It's a pleasure to watch City. They're one of the best teams I've seen live but for United this is a huge setback.

"There's nothing for United to take out from this game. The players should be embarrassed. You can't go into half-time 4-0 down in a derby game.

"It's hugely embarrassing, as brilliant as City were, United were desperate, particularly in midfield. They were overran in midfield and defensively they were all over the shop.

"Again we look at leadership - there was nothing there from Man United."

After a Europa League game away to Omonia Nicosia on Thursday, United return to Premier League action at Everton on October 9.

A hat-trick each for Erling Haaland and Phil Foden gave Manchester City a 6-3 win against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

It was a ruthless performance from the Premier League champions, who were four goals up at half-time after tearing United apart time and again with their pass and move football.

Antony scored with an excellent strike early in the second half and Anthony Martial came off the bench to add two more late on to make the score a bit more respectable, but it was an otherwise dominant showing from City against Erik ten Hag's men.

Pep Guardiola saw his team go back to within a point of leaders Arsenal at the top of the league, and remain the only unbeaten team in England's top flight this season.

Phil Foden became the youngest player to hit 50 goals in a Pep Guardiola team as he scored two in a first-half rampage by Manchester City in Sunday's derby.

The England international scored City's opener and added their fourth as the home side led Manchester United 4-0 at the break. They were his first goals in Manchester derbies, with this his eighth appearance in such a game.

Between those goals, Erling Haaland delivered another masterclass of finishing with a clinical double strike, and it was Haaland's cross that Foden fired in to reach his half-century.

It meant Foden got to 50 goals in all competitions for City at the age of 22 years and 127 days.

Lionel Messi was 22 years and 164 days old when he reached 50 under Guardiola at Barcelona.

To give that some context, it is important to remember Messi had played four seasons for Barcelona before Guardiola took charge ahead of the 2008-09 season, while Foden has only ever played for Guardiola in City's first team.

Messi reached 50 for Guardiola in just his second season under the Spanish boss, while Foden made his City debut almost five years ago, in a Champions League game against Feyenoord.

Phil Foden has been a revelation since breaking into Manchester City's first team and the Premier League champions are eager to reward him with a new deal.

The England midfielder is under contract under 2024, but City are set to keep in at the club for the long term.


TOP STORY – CITY REACH FODEN AGREEMENT FOR BUMPER DEAL

Manchester City and Foden have reached an agreement in principle on a £78million deal according to Football Insider.

The mega-money deal is worth around £250,000 per week for the 22-year-old, pushing him close to the money Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland are earning.

The length of the contract is six years for the Stockport-born star, who came through the academy at City.

ROUND-UP 

Arsenal have moved on from Dusan Vlahovic , according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims the Gunners are not interested in re-visiting a potential move for the Serbian who joined Juventus in January.

Manchester United will dangle a five-year contract for striker Marcus Rashford as they look to tie him down long term, reports The Express. Rashford's current deal expires at the end of this season.

– Calciomercato claims Alex Sandro will depart Juventus when his contract expires at the conclusion of this season. The Brazilian has previously attracted interest from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain .

Romelu Lukaku has no plans to return to Chelsea when his season-long loan with Inter expires at the end of this season, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Chelsea are ready to pay £30million for Fulham's 17-year-old midfielder Luke Harris , claims The Mirror. Harris was called up to Wales' Nations League squad, but is yet to debut for the Cottagers.

Liverpool and Arsenal are both considering a move next year for Villarreal's 21-year-old winger Alex Baena , reports the Daily Mirror.

Rio Ferdinand is calling 15-year-old Arsenal debutant Ethan Nwaneri a rare talent after he broke the record for the youngest Premier League player in history during his side's 3-0 win against Brentford on Sunday.

Nwaneri came on in stoppage time and had no effect on the outcome, but it was the next step in a rapid rise for the England under-17 representative, who is still classified as a schoolboy until he turns 16 in March.

Since his debut, a report from The Times has claimed Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool all have a strong interest in the impressive youngster, and Ferdinand believes it is not out of the blue.

Speaking on his Youtube channel FIVE, the United legend said he has heard from sources within the game that Nwaneri could be a once-in-a-generation prospect for the Gunners.

"There's no doubting this kid's ability," he said. 

"I've heard from coaches that are at the club and from various different people in the game at that level that there aren't many 15-year-olds in the last 10-or-so years that have got the ability that this guy's shown on a consistent basis.

"We are talking the [Phil] Fodens of this world. At 15, he's at a similar level they're talking."

Foden debuted for City at 17, and went on to become the youngest ever Premier League winner, while also being named PFA Young Player of the Year on two separate occasions.

At 22 years old, Foden has already earned 16 international caps, and is set for his first World Cup campaign in Qatar.

Here we go again. Some 69 days on from taking their latest Premier League title battle down to the final minutes of the final day of the last campaign, Manchester City and Liverpool prepare to face off in the 2022-23 curtain-raiser.

Liverpool not only missed out to City on the title but also tasted defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final the following week, although the 2021-22 season was not all bad as they lifted both the EFL Cup and FA Cup.

It has been a busy window for both clubs in terms of incoming and outgoing activity, but England's two dominant forces appear certain to battle it out for a share of the major honours once again this time around.

The first of the trophies up for grabs is the Community Shield this weekend, contested between the winners of the previous season's Premier League and FA Cup. 

While some question just how competitive the fixture exactly is – especially this campaign, with the match being held away from Wembley – it provides both sides with an opportunity to lay down an early marker for what is to come over the next 10 months. 


Community Shield with a difference

If Jose Mourinho was so eager to count it as a major honour, then who are we to argue against the Portuguese, who lifted the shield with both Chelsea and Manchester United.

This year's game is a little different in more ways than one, though, as for the first time since 1958 – when Bolton Wanderers beat Wolves 4-1 in the month of October – the showpiece will be held outside of August, a knock-on effect of the World Cup being staged midway through the campaign.

It is also the earliest in the calendar year the match has taken place since 1922 when Liverpool were beaten by Huddersfield Town in May.

Not only is the traditional date of the fixture different, so too is the venue. With Wembley being used for the Women's Euro 2022 final on Sunday, the contest will be held away from England's national stadium for the first time in a decade, since City beat Chelsea at Villa Park.

The game is instead being hosted by the King Power Stadium, and that could be bad news for Jurgen Klopp, who has lost more games at this venue (five) than he has at any other ground as Liverpool boss, excluding Anfield.

 

Reds' losing streak

There are plenty of familiarities this weekend, however, not least the fact that it will be City and Liverpool facing off for a trophy – albeit with this only their second encounter in the Community Shield, following City's penalty shoot-out success three years ago.

Liverpool are aiming to lift the trophy for a 16th time, which would move them level with Arsenal and behind only Manchester United (21), including occasions when the shield was shared. City are sixth on the list of all-time winners, seeking their seventh triumph this time around.

City may not have had as much success in the curtain-raising fixture down the years as Liverpool, but they have triumphed in three of their past five appearances – in 2012, 2018 and 2019.

The Reds' record is far less impressive in recent times, having lost four of their past six Community Shield matches, including each of the past two against City in 2019 and Arsenal in 2020.

 

Goals galore in Leicester?

If recent encounters between these sides have taught us anything, it is that we can expect to be entertained at the King Power Stadium on Saturday. 

Both teams have scored in eight of the past nine meetings between City and Liverpool in all competitions, including each of the past five in a row. Across those most recent nine matches, 33 goals have been netted in total – an average of 3.7 per game.

Last season alone saw both sides score at least twice in their three meetings in all competitions, which finished in a couple of four-goal draws in the league and a 3-2 win for Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-finals.

 

All eyes on Salah

Both sides will look slightly different following a busy period of transfers, and seeing how the likes of Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Darwin Nunez and Fabio Carvalho perform – if indeed used – will be one of the most exciting aspects.

There will be plenty of familiar faces on show, too, including Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah, who has been involved in 11 goals in 14 games against City for the Reds, making them his second-favourite opponent behind West Ham (12 goal involvements).

Pep Guardiola will also hope to get some minutes out of Phil Foden, who has yet to feature in pre-season due to visa issues that prevented him travelling to the United States.

The England international enjoys playing against Liverpool, scoring and assisting a combined five goals against them in five starts, although he has failed to do so in his past two outings in this fixture.

Phil Foden can see similarities between Erling Haaland and Manchester City great Sergio Aguero when it comes to his new team-mate's "scary" finishing ability.

Haaland joined City in a £64.2million (€75m) deal earlier this transfer window on the back of scoring 86 goals in 89 appearances in all competitions for Borussia Dortmund.

Across his two-and-a-half years with Dortmund, only Robert Lewandowski (122) and Kylian Mbappe (89) scored more times among players from Europe's top five leagues.

Indeed, Lewandowski (1.81) – who recently left Bayern Munich for Barcelona – is the only player to boast a better goals-per-game ratio than Haaland (1.07) during that period.

A year on from Aguero's exit for Barca, where the Argentine managed just five appearances before a heart issue forced him to retire, Haaland has big boots to fill at the Etihad Stadium.

Aguero scored 257 goals in 384 appearances for City, but Foden believes the reigning Premier League champions are in good hands with Haaland.

"In front of goal he's scary," the England international told Sky Sports. "Everyone knows his goal record, how many he scores.

"But he's coming into a completely different league, much faster football so it might take him time to get used to, but I'm sure when he's in his flow he's going to be unstoppable.

"Aguero is very similar. Haaland has got all different types of finishes as well. 

"He's scary in front of goal and if we can get him the ball in the right areas he's going to be really important for us this year."

Haaland was restricted to 30 games in all competitions for Dortmund last season, yet he still managed 29 goals at a rate of one 1.14 per 90 minutes.

Of those 29 strikes, which came from an expected goals (xG) return of 25.84, five were scored with his head, three with his right foot and 21 with his stronger left.

The Norway international scored the winner on his first outing for City in last week's friendly against Bayern Munich, and the field is not the only place he is making an impact.

"He's a top guy off the pitch, a great character, a great addition to the team," Foden explained.

"He makes everyone laugh and he's dead humble, which is important when you come into a team. He's hungry to achieve things with us, so it can only mean good things."

Haaland is set to make his domestic bow for City when Pep Guardiola's side take on FA Cup winners and Premier League rivals Liverpool in the Community Shield on Saturday.

John Stones is confident Manchester City will continue to perform at an elite level following a period of change, with the Premier League champions recruiting the likes of Erling Haaland and Kalvin Phillips amid the departures of several big names.

Meanwhile, Stones' City and England team-mate Phil Foden has hailed Pep Guardiola's style of management as the biggest factor in creating a harmonious atmosphere at the Etihad Stadium.

Having clinched a second consecutive Premier League title – their fourth in six seasons under Guardiola – with an exhilarating comeback victory over Aston Villa in May, City have used the transfer market to kick-start an evolution of their squad.

Haaland and Phillips represent City's two marquee signings during the off-season, while the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fernandinho have all sought pastures new.

While Stones told the club's website he was sorry to see some of their most storied players depart, he is confident City's new arrivals will keep Guardiola's team competitive. 

"I'm always confident we can be successful," Stones said. "Whoever has come in, they have always been great from the start.

"We obviously spend that much time together and get to know people on a personal level first and then we go out on the training pitch and see what they can bring and the quality they have.

"Whoever has come in has stepped up. It's sad to see people go, whether it is retirement or wanting a new challenge and that's hard because we have so many good friends and good memories on the pitch, but we won’t forget those.

"But that’s football, there is always new people coming in and it is credit to the backroom staff and people involved in recruiting that the character fit of players that have come in do so well in the team."

Haaland's arrival should provide City with the focal point they missed at times last term – Kevin De Bruyne top-scored with 15 league goals for a side that shared the attacking burden during 2021-22.

Meanwhile, Phillips appears the ideal Fernandinho replacement in midfield after making more recoveries per 90 minutes (10.16) than any other outfield player to make a minimum of 15 Premier League appearances last season.

The intense competition for places at the Etihad was suggested as the reason for both Jesus and Sterling departing for domestic rivals in Arsenal and Chelsea respectively.

But Guardiola handed at least 900 minutes of Premier League football to 18 different players last campaign, a tally only bettered by four clubs, and Foden has hailed the tactician for his approach to squad management.

"He's really good at it, bringing everyone together," the creative midfielder said. "We have a big squad and everyone has to be ready to play.

"You see that all year round, everyone has to be ready to step up. Everyone sticking together in moments like those is so important and that's why we win a lot of trophies."

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