Pep Guardiola says Phil Foden is Man City's 'diamond' and explains his recent lack of game time
- Guardiola's explains Foden's absence
- Mahrez and Grealish in good form
- Manchester City face Bournemouth
WHAT HAPPENED? Phil Foden has only appeared sporadically in Manchester City's starting line-up since the season resumed after the 2022 World Cup. The last time Foden played a full 90 minutes for Guardiola's was against Brentford back in November.
Explaining Foden's irregularity, the Manchester City boss suggested that the good form of Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish on the flanks has kept the England international away from the starting XI.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to reporters, Guardiola said, "He made an incredible effort, playing with pain, and arrived at a moment when he said, 'Pep, I cannot anymore', so he had to rest'. 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.
"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. 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."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Foden has started in only one out of the last three Premier League games for his club and was again left on the bench against RB Leipzig in the Champions League round of 16 first-leg tie in midweek.
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WHAT NEXT FOR MANCHESTER CITY? Guardiola's side take on Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.