Winger Phil Foden still has a role to play for Manchester City this season, manager Pep Guardiola said, adding that the 22-year-old is the team’s “diamond”.
Foden has struggled with an ankle injury he sustained while playing for England at the World Cup in Qatar and has had limited game time for City due to the form of fellow wingers Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez.
Guardiola said Foden, who started three of their last 10 Premier League games, asked for time out to rest and recover from the injury.
“If you intend to say I don’t trust Phil, forget about it. Phil is our diamond,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday. “I want Phil to push them (Grealish and Mahrez) and of course, Phil can play in the middle, in a position more central.
“Always I say to him: ‘You are so young, next season is a new one’. If you drop a little bit this season compared to the previous one, it’s an absolutely normal process.
“How you handle it, is the question – if you handle it well. He is training like an animal, there’s no doubt about that, and he will be back.”
City, second in the league standings behind Arsenal, play at Bournemouth on Saturday.