Phil Foden has had a scintillating season for Manchester City, lassoing in the Premier League, the Carabao Cup and potentially the Champions League, and Pep Guardiola has spoken out specifically about the Lionel Messi comparisons that have been invoked based on his lavish praise on the young England international and has qualified his comments about Phil Foden being ‘the most talented player he has ever seen’ in comparison with Lionel Messi.
Foden has had his best season yet for City and many are tipping the England international to go on and become one of the best players in the world.
Back in the summer of 2019, Guardiola made a blanket statement that appeared to imply that Foden is better than Barcelona legend Messi.
“He has everything to become one of the best players,” he said while Foden was sitting alongside him.
“I have said many times in press conferences, but maybe not said it in front of him, Phil is the most, most, most talented player I have ever seen in my career as a manager.
“His only problem is sometimes his manager doesn’t put him in the starting XI. Hopefully in the future that can improve.”
However, Guardiola has since judiciously backtracked a little on that claim, admitting that Messi is in fact at the top of the list, explaining that he didn’t manage the Argentine only until later in the latter’s career.
“Well, the best is Messi, first,” Guardiola told Rio Ferdinand in an interview for BT Sport.
“Second, I didn’t meet Leo Messi at 17-years-old like I met Phil (Foden), and that age, I’ve never seen a player with this potential.
“But you have to see it on the pitch and on the biggest stages.”
Guardiola also singled out Foden’s positive mindset and ability to forget his mistakes, insisting those sorts of mental qualities cannot be overlooked.
“He’s comfortable. He loves to play,” the Spaniard added. “When this happens, you have to protect him. He’s a guy who makes mistakes but he’s forgotten (them).
“The most important part for a football player is the head.
“He’s forgotten in one instance, one second. He thinks about the next one. The game against Borussia Dortmund at home, he missed three chances.
“Do you know who scored? It was him. I had the feeling, he’s 20 years old.”