England midfielder Phil Foden says he wants to stay at Manchester City for the rest of his career – as he cannot imagine playing for another club.
Foden, 20, graduated from City’s youth set-up, playing his 100th senior game in the 5-0 win at West Brom in January.
“I can only see myself playing for Manchester City, considering how much I’ve supported them from a young age,” Foden told Football Focus.
“It always helps when you play for a club you support.”
Stockport-born Foden, who joined City at under-nine level, made his name by winning the Golden Ball as he helped England to victory at the Under-17 World Cup in October 2017.
Within a month, he had made history as City’s youngest player in European competition when, aged 17 years and 177 days, he came on as a substitute against Feyenoord in the Champions League.
Since then, he has played a part in two Premier League title campaigns on his way to a century of appearances for the club, as well as featuring in two of the three EFL Cup finals that City have won under manager Pep Guardiola.
“When I was younger, it was a dream to play for the club, so never did I think I would make it to 100 appearances so early,” added Foden.
“I gave the shirt from that [West Brom] game to my family and they got it framed.”
Foden has succeeded in establishing himself in the City side – having made 10 league starts this term, more than he managed in the whole of last season.
He is also enjoying his best season in front of goal, having scored nine times in 27 appearances in all competitions for City. Goals in back-to-back wins over Wolves and Bournemouth early in the campaign helped build confidence, and he also feels he is benefiting from a change of role.
“I wouldn’t say I’m doing anything different this season, just playing more of an attacking role,” he said.
“In previous years, I’ve played in the middle. Now I’m out wide and you always get confidence when you score in back-to-back games.
“Sometimes you get lucky when chances fall to you. I just enjoy scoring goals and that’s what I wanted to add to my game.”
‘Liverpool still a danger’
Foden’s form has helped Manchester City win 13 games in a row in all competitions. From being ninth in the Premier League in December, they are now top.
On Sunday, they visit reigning champions Liverpool, who have lost to Burnley and Brighton in their past two home matches and have fallen seven points behind Guardiola’s side.
It has been quite a transformation for City, who won only three of their opening eight league matches, but have dropped just four points since.
“At the start, we weren’t on top and everyone wrote us off, saying we had dropped too many points, but we stuck together and now we’re on top – so it shows how it can change,” added Foden.
“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves – we have to just think about the next game. It’s so easy to drop points; there isn’t really a home advantage [this season] and it has been a strange year.
“They [Liverpool] are such a great team and have great players. We know they can go on a run themselves. It’s going to be a great game.
“You see how strong Liverpool have been in recent years and I still see them as a danger – also [Manchester] United are playing well. But we just have to focus on ourselves.”
Learning from the greats
Foden highlighted club captain Fernandinho as a key figure in helping City overcome their inconsistent start.
The Brazil midfielder, 35, has started only five league matches this season, but his influence is still strongly felt in the dressing room.
“He is a massive figure and so important for us this year,” said Foden. “Sometimes if the manager does not see if a player is down, Fernandinho will go and see if they’re OK.
“He’s the perfect captain on and off the pitch. When we were in a bad run, he called a meeting in the changing room and we spoke how things were going wrong and how it could go better – and since then we’ve improved.
“He is a captain even when he doesn’t play as much as he wants to.”
Foden’s own form saved Guardiola from needing to buy a replacement for City great David Silva in the summer transfer window.
Spanish playmaker Silva, who helped the club win the Premier League four times, left Etihad Stadium after 10 years when his contract expired at the end of last season – and Foden cites him as an inspiration, along with other creative players at City, including Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan.
“It’s so enjoyable [playing with them] and they bring the best out of you,” said Foden.
“I was learning a lot in every training session from David because I was playing in his role, so he would help me and say ‘play one touch’ or ‘turn there’. He helped me and I’m very grateful for that.”
Watch the full interview with Manchester City’s Phil Foden during Football Focus on BBC One at 12:00 GMT on Saturday, 6 December.