Manchester City’s Phil Foden (centre) in action against Brighton during an EPL match on Wednesday. Associated Press
Phil Foden should be an automatic pick for England at this year’s delayed European Championship after his outstanding season so far, says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.
The 20-year-old midfielder scored his eighth goal of the season in City’s 1-0 win over on Wednesday.
City climbed to third spot in the table, just four points behind leaders Manchester United and one point adrift of Liverpool with a game in hand on the champions.
Guardiola praised his young match-winner, who is City’s leading goalscorer this season.
“In the last few days, Phil has played against (Chelsea’s Cesar) Azpilicueta, one of the most incredible defenders in the Premier League, and was outstanding,” he said.
“It was the same against (Manchester United’s). I am pretty sure he would be selected (for England) if it was me.
“(England manager) Gareth (Southgate), I don’t know but I am sure he was really impressed by him, like all of us.”
Foden first sprang to prominence when England won the Under-17 World Cup in 2017 and has since earned three senior caps.
“He is a guy with a special instinct close to goal, not just with the left foot, but with the right foot,” said Guardiola.
“He deserves to play. His standards are higher. I have the feeling he lives his life 24 hours to play football.
“When you see his face he is happy at training sessions and playing games. When that happens the rest is what everyone sees in his performance.”
Foden said he was enjoying the responsibility he was being given by Guardiola, adding that City were back in the groove after a slow start to the season.
“It definitely feels like we’re back to our best,” he said. “We’ve taken confidence from the last few results.”
Earlier, Foden fired Manchester City into third place in the Premier League on Wednesday as Guardiola’s men saw off a feisty challenge from Brighton to win 1-0.
Much of the recent talk has been about a potential duel between leaders Manchester United and champions Liverpool but Pep Guardiola’s men are now right in the mix.
The 2018 and 2019 champions started the season sluggishly but have hit the accelerator in recent weeks and are now just one point behind Liverpool with a game in hand.
City played without a recognised striker against Graham Potter’s Brighton but despite not being at their best in soggy Manchester, eventually had just enough to beat the well-organised visitors.
The home side dominated possession in the early stages without creating much of note and Brighton carried an intermittent threat on the break.
City had a golden chance to take an early lead when the impressive Kevin De Bruyne was put through by Ilkay Gundogan but goalkeeper Robert Sanchez blocked the Belgian’s shot right-footed shot from close range.
Brighton’s Leandro Trossard had a chance to test the returning Ederson in the City goal but he bent his shot wide.
As City found their rhythm, Joel Veltman reacted well to clear before Foden could poke the ball in the net and De Bruyne had another chance five minutes from half-time after a swift break but his powerful shot was well saved.
City’s pressure finally told in the 44th minute. Foden received the ball from De Bruyne on the left of the attack.
Meanwhile, Fulham made Jose Mourinho pay a heavy price for his taunts as Ivan Cavaleiro’s late equaliser rescued a 1-1 draw that dented Tottenham’s Premier League title challenge on Wednesday.
Tottenham boss Mourinho engaged in a pre-match war of words with Fulham manager Scott Parker over the Premier League’s decision to reschedule the London derby at short notice.
Harry Kane had put the hosts ahead in the first half at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but Cavaleiro struck in the closing stages to leave Mourinho frustrated.
Tottenham have won just two of their last eight league matches and sit in sixth place.