Phil Foden wants to play in midfield for Manchester City, but he has admitted that his goal could take a few years to achieve.
Foden is regarded as one of the best young attackers in world football, and he has earned that reputation largely by playing on the flanks.
The 22-year-old is extremely versatile and possesses a rare skillset, one that combines directness and hunger with an improving ability to dictate the tempo and recognise when to slow games down.
The latter is known as ‘pausa’, and is something Pep Guardiola has up until now felt Foden didn’t have enough of to play in midfield.
Since making his first team debut in 2017, Guardiola has largely deployed Foden on the left and right wings, and occasionally as a false nine. He has rarely started Foden in the number eight role he occupied during his years in City’s academy.
Foden is learning though, and after enduring an injury-hit start to 2023, has put in superb performances in wins against Bournemouth, Bristol City and Newcastle.
His attacking contribution – four goals and one assist – were the headlines from those games, but he also showed a great understanding of when to attack directly and when to keep the ball and build attacks slowly.
Could we see Foden play regularly in midfield in the not-too-distant future? The man himself certainly hopes so.
What has Foden said?
“It’s something I definitely want to move into over the next few years,” Foden said after he scored a superb opener in City’s 2-0 win against Newcastle on Saturday, via The Independent.
“I’ve always seen myself playing there. Hopefully I can adapt and become a midfielder: that’s my aim. I feel like I could possibly get a chance there.
“I’m feeling back sharp now – back to my best. I feel like I’m a bit more mature, I feel I can play a lot of different positions very well and I feel like I’ve taken my game to the next step.
“I’ve been doing well on the right at the moment but I enjoy both [wing positions]. I feel like on the right is a little bit easier because I come inside onto my left foot. I seem to score doing either and do well.”