Phil Foden: Comparing minutes played to other wonderkids

When will the playmaker's time come?

10:33am on Thursday 4th June 2020
Martin Macdonald

Phil Foden is widely recognised as being one of the most talented young English players around at the moment.

The problem is...he never plays football.

No City youth product in the past decade has come through to become a regular in the first team or, more importantly, the starting XI.

Foden could be the first to do so, but with just a few minutes here and there, his development is being curbed, particularly when compared to the amount of playing time some of his peers.


League Mins 19/20

Phil Foden354
Kai Havertz2191
Jadon Sancho1977
Trent Alexander-Arnold2550
Fede Valverde1266
Erling Haaland*983
Alphonso Davies1951
German Bundesliga mins only

As you can see from the above, the player from that list closest to Foden is Erling Haaland of Dortmund, but he only signed for BVB in January, meaning that he has played more minutes in just five months for his new club than his English counterpart has in the entire season.

Kai Havertz, after his recent performances in Germany following the league resumption, has become one of only nine players on our database to move to a 99 Rating, but he is playing, every week.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, after being given his debut by Jurgen Klopp, has developed into one of the finest full-backs currently plying his trade in Europe, and no-one can say that Liverpool do not harbour the same ambitions as City.

20 yrs - M, AM (C) - Man City
JavaScript chart by amChartsLDefendingCreativePassingAttackingShootingDecisiveAerialsPhysical10-10-5051015100%
Played matches
Shots P90
Shots On target P90
Successful passing %
Final third passes P90

Two players who, prior to this season, didn't hold a reputation as high as Foden were Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich and Federico Valverde of Real Madrid. These two clubs are undoubtedly bigger than Man City in every aspect, yet they have awarded opportunities to both players while Foden remains largely restricted to cup football.

Davies has been one of the stars of the season by any standards and lit up the knockout stages of the Champions League, while Valverde has become a trusted lieutenant of Zinedine Zidane, so much so that it is not a foregone conclusion that they will go ahead with their planned swoop for Paul Pogba.

The aptest comparison we can make is to Jadon Sancho. In 2017, it was a sliding doors moment for the young English winger, as he had to choose between staying in Manchester with City, or moving to new surroundings in Germany with Dortmund.

He chose the latter, and is now one of the most sought after wingers in Europe, linked with every elite club under the sun including Man Utd, Barcelona, and Real Madrid.

It isn't too late for Foden to become a similar star. But, does he also need to make the tough decision to leave his boyhood club to do so?

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