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Guardiola overlooks Messi: “Foden is the most talented player”

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Pep Guardiola stunned everybody by naming Manchester City youngster Phil Foden as “the most talented player” he’s ever laid eyes on.

Guardiola has coached some of the biggest names in world football at Barcelona and Bayern Munich across his incredible 12-year managerial career.

The likes of five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, Robert Lewandowski and Kevin De Bruyne have all excelled under the Catalan’s leadership.

Guardiola even had the rare privilege of partnering with legends like Ronaldo Nazario, Rivaldo, Romario during his playing career at Barcelona.

Yet it’s a 19-year-old from Stockport who’s the most talented player that Guardiola has ever witnessed.

Few could believe what they were hearing when Guardiola made this announcement, with Foden having struggled to break into City’s first-team midfield since debuting in November 2017.

The Academy graduate has made 36 appearances in all competitions for City with seven goals and three assists to his name.

Not helping Foden’s prospects for next season is the summer arrival of Rodri from Atletico Madrid. He will also have to find a way to leapfrog Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and David Silva.

Based on Guardiola’s latest comments, though, it seems the teenager has nothing to worry about.

“He is the most talented player I have ever seen,” said Guardiola, according to NBC Sports.

“His problem is sometimes his manager doesn’t put him in starting XI.

“He deserves all the minutes, but with his competitors it isn’t easy. He works incredibly. He knows I’m here to help him.”

Foden, who was sitting alongside Guardiola during the press conference in Japan, said:  “I am lucky to be part of it [at City].

“It is a special team. The success comes from the depth of the squad. Anyone who plays will put a shift in and play well.”

Guardiola and City will be in action against J-League side Yokohama FM on Saturday for their final pre-season friendly. The game will start at 12:30 (CET).

LEICESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 19: Pep Guardiola the head coach / manager of Manchester City and Phil Foden of Manchester City during the Carabao Cup Quarter-Final match between Leicester City and Manchester City at The King Power Stadium on December 19, 2017 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)