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21 February 2024

Pressure to succeed too great for Guardiola to blood youngsters

Photo: AFP


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes the pressure on the Premier League champions to win trophies makes it hard for him to blood products from the club's youth academy.

Phil Foden scored despite being given just four minutes off the bench in Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League clash with Dinamo Zagreb.

The 19-year-old Mancunian has been around the first team squad for nearly two years, but has started just three league games in his career.


And Guardiola confessed that the desperate pressure to be successful has hampered his desire to field some of the promising young talent being produced by his club's academy.

"This team needs to win titles and prizes and the process for the young players needs time and the best way is step-by-step, for the players that we have," said Guardiola.

"The demand from the club, not winning the Champions League but being there every time, in all competitions and that needs the players we have.

"What can I say? The talent is there and when they are talented, they will play, but at the same time, we have to compete every single day to fight with the best teams in England and Europe.

"For that we need David Silvas and Kevin De Bruynes and Sergio Agueros and Fernandinhos and all these type of players.

"The young players can be help for the other ones but if the basis is young, it is not possible."

Foden's lack of first-team action means he is yet to break into England manager Gareth Southgate's plans for selection at senior international level.

There have been calls for Foden to follow the example of Jadon Sancho -- whose career has taken off spectacularly since leaving City's academy to join Borussia Dortmund in 2017.

Chelsea trio Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori were also included in Southgate's latest England squad on Thursday after loan spells in the Championship last season.

But Guardiola remains adamant that City remains the best place for Foden right now.

"When Phil is here in the first team of Man City it is because he is ready to play every single game and it is because he has everything to play," added Guardiola.

"I said many times, everyone in this room knows exactly what my opinion of Phil Foden is.

"He is 18 or 19 years old, so he plays quite enough minutes and he will play a lot this season and the next seasons."

Foden's time to shine in the league could come on Sunday when City host Wolves with De Bruyne sidelined due to a groin strain.