Pep Guardiola explains how Phil Foden can reclaim regular Man City place

Phil Foden has lacked Man City playing time since the World Cup
Phil Foden has lacked Man City playing time since the World Cup / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has urged Phil Foden to keep performing as he did against Nottingham Forest if he wants to reclaim a regular starting place, but also hinted that Riyad Mahrez will continue to get the nod for the time being as they compete for one position.

Foden has only started three Premier League games since returning from the World Cup, with Saturday’s draw against Forest the first time he has played more than an hour in the league in 2023.

Illness and minor injuries haven’t helped the 22-year-old’s search for consistency. At the same time, Mahrez has been in excellent form on the right, the position Guardiola has seemingly decided is where he wants Foden after swapping him in for the Algerian in Nottingham.

But while the City boss praised Foden’s performance in that game, he alluded to a lack of match sharpness and missing the pausa, a Spanish football term used for midfielders slowing down play to draw opponents in before quickly speeding up with a pass or movement.

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“Phil played really good, in the first half he was really aggressive against [Renan] Lodi. He arrived at the by-line many times," Guardiola explained after the Forest game. “He still doesn’t have this pausa that he had [before]. It’s normal because he hasn’t played much, but he was so aggressive.

“I didn’t ask him [if he is frustrated]. I don’t know. He has to compete with Riyad who’s playing really well, and the other players. It’s a competition for them. What I have to say is not be frustrated, it’s perform as best as possible. As best as possible. After that, it will be easy.”