Phil Foden is the obvious replacement for Kevin de Bruyne, although Manchester City would have to play differently as a result.

That’s according to pundit Stephen Warnock, who was asked how City might cope without De Bruyne.

The 32-year-old midfielder will be out of action for up to five months after undergoing surgery on a hamstring injury.

De Bruyne suffered the injury during City’s 3-0 win against Burnley on the opening day of the Premier League season last week.

Warnock says Foden isn’t a like-for-like replacement

In the view of former Premier League defender Warnock, City academy graduate Foden can take on the creative responsibility in City’s midfield.

Manchester City FC v Sevilla FC - UEFA Super Cup 2023
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However, the pundit warned that Foden is a different kind of player to De Bruyne.

“I think the obvious replacement at the moment is Phil Foden, but he’s a different type of player. He’s a player who received the ball on his back foot like no other player in the Premier League,” Warnock said on BBC Sport’s Football Daily podcast.

“But he’s a ball carrier, whereas De Bruyne can carry the ball but also hit a ball from 50 or 60 yards. I don’t think Foden has the ability to hit that ball. If he has, we haven’t seen it yet.

“He’s more of a player who likes to draw players out of position and bring them closer towards him, to draw them out of spaces.

“Whereas De Bruyne finds space and is just so clever with his passing range and what he tries to achieve. So when you look at it like that, that’s completely different in that type of player.

“Who else do you look at in that midfield area? I think you would have said that Gundogan would have played higher, but because he’s not any more they’ve lost that ability. They’ve lost such big players.”

Speaking to the media ahead of Saturday’s match against Newcastle, City boss Pep Guardiola suggested that the treble winners might have to change their transfer strategy due to De Bruyne’s long-term absence.

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