Pep Guardiola praises Phil Foden maturity after England debacle

Pep Guardiola has praised Phil Foden’s response to being sent home by England last month as “incredibly mature”, with Manchester City’s manager describing him as one of the team’s leaders.

Gareth Southgate ordered the 20-year-old to fly back from Iceland along with Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood after each invited a woman to the team hotel, a breach of Covid protocols.

This was before City’s season started and Foden then scored in their opening two wins, though he was part of the XI that lost 5-2 last weekend to Leicester.

Guardiola said: “I think he has shown incredible maturity because after what happened he played the first game against Wolves, it was not easy – it never has been or will be – and in the second game against Bournemouth he led the team. The third was difficult for everyone – Leicester played so well in the defensive area and he was a bit tired.

“But his approach in every training session and match has been right. He was from the beginning so mature, he handled the good and bad things and put aside the good and bad moments, and just thinks about the next thing.”

Guardiola has no issue with Southgate having left Foden out of the England squad announced on Thursday, when Greenwood was also omitted. “I think everyone knows the reason why [Foden was left out],” he said “But Phil has worked incredibly hard every day. His performance is high and has been good.

“When Gareth thinks it’s the moment to come back, he’ll come back. He is still playing as well as possible to be ready.”

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Guardiola said that Eric García’s proposed move to Barcelona before Monday’s deadline was in the balance. “I know he wants to leave and that Barcelona want him but there is no deal between the clubs right now. How it’s going to finish I don’t know.”



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