Pep Guardiola asserts that Phil Foden possesses the versatility to operate in various attacking roles for Manchester City, even though England manager Gareth Southgate suggested that Foden might struggle to play centrally for the national team. Southgate had implied that since Foden primarily plays on the flanks at City, it could be challenging to deploy him in a central role during international matches. Despite City’s remarkable achievements in the previous season, Foden’s performance wasn’t consistently at its peak.
When questioned about Foden’s role ahead of Manchester City’s upcoming match against West Ham, Guardiola expressed his support for the player. Guardiola emphasized his excellent relationship with Gareth Southgate and stated that he both disagreed and agreed with him. He explained that while playing on the wing is a different role, Foden is capable of performing in various forward positions, including central, right, left, and in the pockets. Guardiola acknowledged that playing in the pockets comes with additional defensive responsibilities, but he believes Foden’s ability to adapt to different positions is a significant advantage. He also mentioned that in a recent friendly against Scotland, Foden started on the right but spent most of his time playing centrally, highlighting the fluidity of player movement in football.
Guardiola, who missed two matches due to a back operation in Spain, is set to return as the manager for the West Ham game. In his absence, Manchester City, currently leading the table, maintained a perfect record in their title defense under the guidance of assistant manager Juanma Lillo. Guardiola expressed optimism about his recovery, stating that he’s improving gradually, three weeks after surgery, and praised the doctor for a job well done, expecting to feel better with each passing week.