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Foden could be ‘a level above’ Rooney | Damien Delaney

Stephen Kisbey-Green
Stephen Kisbey-Green

21:07 7 Feb 2021


Former Republic of Ireland defender Damien Delaney believes that Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden could be a cut above the likes of Wayne Rooney.

City took home a 4-1 victory over Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool side on Sunday night, with two goals to İlkay Gündoğan, as well as one each to Raheem Sterling and Foden.

Foden’s goal was just the icing on the cake in terms of his overall performance, though, as Delaney believes that the 20-year-old is a world class athlete.

“It was always a running joke that Pep [Guardiola] would come up and say that he is a world class talent and then never play him for the last number of years,” Delaney said on Off The Ball after the match.

“[Guardiola] is obviously grooming him and getting him to a point where he would be not only a world class footballer, but world class tactically as well.

“If you look at the amount of positions that he plays for Manchester City, he is playing right wing, false nine, as a 10; that just tells you the understanding and belief that Pep has in him.

“He probably spent those two years when he was working with him instilling that in him, getting that understanding of the game, because he knew he had the talent.

“Everybody saw with the England under-18s that he had that talent, but Pep has obviously seen that he had the mental ability or the mental aptitude to take on board what he has been asked.”

With the number of different roles that Foden has been tasked with under Guardiola, Delaney believes that the Stockport native has shown his natural aptitude for the game.

It is for this reason that Delaney does not believe Foden has a preferred position.

“His best attribute is the fact that he is as intelligent as what he is,” Delaney said.  “I don’t think he will ever nail down a position.

“I think Pep will continue to rotate him and he can fill him in in any position. Ultimately, the only person that can answer that question would be Phil Foden: Where would you like to play?

“I can probably guarantee that he would say number 10; he looks like the guy that would want to be central and involved in the game all the time.

“But he does great on the wings, he does great in the false nine for Pep. So, his greatest attributes are his aptitude, his intelligence and his willingness to learn.”

Phil Foden Liverpool vs Mancheter City Manchester City's Phil Foden (centre) runs past Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Sunday February 7, 2021. Laurence Griffiths/PA Wire/PA Images

Foden could be England's next world class talent

Although he still young, Delaney believes that Foden has the ability to become one of the truly great world class international players akin to the likes of Wayne Rooney for England.

“He is working with a world class manager, a world class football club, they are going to be competing every year in the latter stages of the Champions League,” Delaney said.

“He is going to be a winner; he could be that world class player. Every team that has down well in international football has had that one world class player that can turn the game on its head.

“[Foden] looks like he could be that for England. England have had some great players over the years, but have they ever really had that one world class player?

“With the exception of Wayne Rooney, but maybe Phil Foden is a level above that as well.

“He can come into pockets and dictate the pace of the game and dictate what he wants to do in the game.

“He certainly looks like he is that kind of player and I hope that England find a place for him or find a system for him.”

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Read more about

Damien Delaney Liverpool Manchester City Pep Guardiola Phil Foden Premier League Wayne Rooney

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