On Monday, Phil Foden continued to prove what most of us already know - he is one of the most exciting young English players of his generation.
The 20-year-old scored two goals as Manchester City dismantled Burnley 5-0 at the Etihad to further postpone Liverpool’s title celebrations.
What was Foden's overall display like?
📷 Match Snapshot
He was handed just his fourth start of the Premier League season by Pep Guardiola, who rotated his starting XI with a raft of changes following the win against Arsenal last week.
Instantly, however, he looked eager to impress, as he always does. After a period of feeling their way into proceedings with a lot of possession but not much penetration, Foden gave the home side the lead midway through the first half.
⚽ ⏱️ 22' After collecting a corner sent to the edge of the area, he took advantage of the space ahead of him to rifle a cracking left-footed strike into the bottom right corner from 25 yards, with the ball bouncing beyond the despairing Nick Pope.
Foden was deployed on the left wing, but regularly cut inside into more central areas in order to affect proceedings, and it was indeed in these areas that he was able to collect the ball and turn sharply into the final third.
⚽ ⏱️ 63' He would eventually score the fifth and final goal, confidently scoring with an opportunistic left-footed finish after latching on to a miskick from Gabriel Jesus.
The Englishman would eventually earn an 8.6 FC Rating for his performance, just being bested by team-mate Bernardo Silva, who recorded a score of 9.0.
〽️ Rating Week-on-Week
Foden's last appearance for City game in the drubbing of Arsenal last week, where he came off the bench midway through the second half to finish the Gunners off with the third and final goal, earning a FC rating of 7.6.
Against Burnley (8.6), with the opportunity to start the match from the opening whistle, he performed better with the increased time awarded to him by Guardiola.
🗝️ Key Stats
Fioden match stats
|FC Rating||8.6||Rank #2|
|Touches In Box||4||Rank #3|
"He has everything to become one of the best players," Guardiola said in 2019.
"I have said many times in press conferences, but maybe not said it in front of him, Phil is the most, most, most talented player I have ever seen in my career as a manager."
If Foden is indeed more talented than the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, and Arjen Robben, then why has the 20-year-old been left with just 458 minutes of Premier League football this season?
At previous clubs, the hugely successful Spaniard had no qualms whatsoever about introducing young players into his starting XI, namely Pedro and Sergio Busquets at Barcelona, whom he immediately promoted from Barcelona B after becoming head coach.
But, Foden has been starved of playing time compared to players of a similar age around Europe.
Looking at his peers who play in a similar position, Kai Havertz of Leverkusen has played 2437 minutes in the Bundesliga, Sandro Tonali of Brescia has played 2131 mins in Serie A, while Mason Mount has become a key member of Frank Lampard's Chelsea side.
If Guardiola is serious in his commitment to Foden as a player, play him. Or else let him go somewhere where he can flourish.