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The world at his feet: Phil Foden could become the most decorated English footballer in history

The world at his feet: Phil Foden could become the most decorated English footballer in history

Just twenty, with seven major honours and another Premier League title on ice, Foden's racking up the bling.

MOST 20-year-olds would have been overawed by the occasion of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, even if the Wembley stands were only partially full. There aren’t many 20-year-olds like Phil Foden, though, who have won seven major honours barely out of their teenage years. Foden wasn’t overawed because he has already been there many times before.

Foden wasn’t just there either. He, perhaps more than anyone else on the pitch, made the occasion his own, just as he did in last year’s Carabao Cup final when he was Man of the Match. Aymeric Laporte might have scored the winner and Kevin de Bruyne may have contributed the assist, but so much of Manchester City’s attacking play flowed through their homegrown dynamo.

Alongside de Bruyne and Ruben Dias, Foden has been among City’s most influential players in a season that could see them win a trio of trophies, with the Carabao Cup already in the bag, the Premier League soon to be and a Champions League semi final against Paris Saint-Germain looming this week. Foden could clinch an eighth and ninth major honour before the campaign is out.

For context, Wayne Rooney, widely regarded as the most decorated English player of the last 20 years, finished his playing career with 12 major honours. Ryan Giggs, a Welshman but the epitome of longevity at the top of the English game, retired at the age of 40 having won 23 major honours.

By both measures, Foden isn’t just on course to better both records, he’s set to obliterate them. It’s entirely possible that he could set a new precedent at the top of the English game as the most decorated player the country has produced in the modern age. He is well-placed to leave Rooney, Giggs and everyone else in his dust.

Of course, it shouldn’t be taken for granted that Foden will continue to win title after title, but he’s at a club in a position of power unmatched at the top of the English game since the most dominant days of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side of the early 2000s. City have been the most successful English team of the last 10 years and there’s nothing to suggest they won’t be the most successful English team of the next 10 years too.

Foden could be a Manchester City icon, if he isn’t already there. Already one of the most technically accomplished players at the Etihad Stadium, Pep Guardiola still sees room for improvement. “He played more minutes [this season] and when you play more minutes you are a better player,” the City boss recently explained.

“He was a boy when I arrived, training every day with these guys and now he plays important minutes. He is stronger physically. He can get stronger. He plays more minutes, knows the game better and can play more positions. He is a better player but he can still be better.”

The thought of an even better Foden is a frightening one for opponents. The 20-year-old is already an important figure for arguably the best team in European football right now. He could, and probably should, be a starter for England at this summer’s Euros. Foden could be key to England’s chances of winning the whole thing, which would only add further to his growing list of major honours.

From the moment Foden led England to glory at the 2017 U17 World Cup, he was seen as a future star for club and country. That vision is now materialising in front of our eyes and there’s no limit to what the midfielder can achieve. Foden is at the perfect club for him working under the perfect manager for him. He might have to invest in a bigger trophy cabinet.





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Graham Ruthven
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