Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists Phil Foden is the club’s ‘diamond’ despite falling out-of-favour over recent weeks… as he reveals the England star is training like an ‘animal’ to rediscover his best form
Out-of-sorts Foden has started just a third of City’s matches since the World Cup, amid struggles with an ankle injury.
Guardiola revealed that the 22-year-old asked for time off to recover from the problem and is focused on winning back a spot in City’s starting XI.
‘He made an incredible effort, playing with pain, and arrived at a moment when he said, ‘Pep, I cannot any more’, so he had to rest,’ Guardiola said.
‘We gave him a week or two off, and after that Riyad Mahrez was in his best time of the season and Jack Grealish made a step forward.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has insisted Phil Foden (above) retains his full trust
The out-of-sorts midfielder has only started a third of City’s matches since the World Cup
But Guardiola backed City’s ‘diamond’ Foden to recapture his best form and shine once again
‘If you are saying that I don’t trust Phil, forget about it. Phil is our diamond. He needs to be himself. I saw other players better than him at times after the World Cup.’
Guardiola previously predicted a downturn for the England international, who impressed during last weekend’s draw at Nottingham Forest before remaining an unused substitute against RB Leipzig on Wednesday.
The City boss added: ‘I say to him, ‘You are so young, next season is a new one. If you drop a little bit this season, it’s an absolutely normal process’. How you handle it is the question.
‘He is training like an animal, no doubt about that, and he will be back, like he was at Nottingham, where he was brilliant, perfect. He just has to continue.’
City, who travel to Bournemouth on Saturday in a fourth straight away game, expect Kevin De Bruyne to feature after illness.
‘Our fatigue is there, but we have to take energy from somewhere,’ Guardiola said. ‘I don’t know where, but we have to do it.’