Phil Foden needs to “really look at where he is” during the January transfer window, says Stuart Pearce, with the former Manchester City boss suggesting that the teenager may need a move.
At 19 years of age, a highly-rated midfielder still has time on his side at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola has billed him as the only unsellable asset on City’s books, with €500 million (£450m/$550m) not enough to tempt the Premier League champions into a sale.
Foden is, however, struggling for minutes in a star-studded squad and has aired his frustration at life on the sidelines.
Pearce believes a spell elsewhere could benefit the England hopeful, who is yet to follow in the footsteps of fellow youngsters such as Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Jadon Sancho by joining the senior Three Lions fold.
“In January, he [Foden] really needs to look at where he is at the moment,” Pearce told talkSPORT.
“Game time is absolutely vital for a player of his age.
“He’s coming to that age where he needs to play some games. I think six months out on loan, if he hasn’t broken into the team, would do him the world of good.
Pearce added: “Guardiola loves the kid to bits, but the bottom line is, you’ve got to play.
“Frank’s chucked a few of the youngsters in at Chelsea and that’s probably brought Foden’s name to the fore a little bit more, because he isn’t getting game time.
“You and I know the best experiences come from game time and not training.”
Foden has been restricted to just four appearances for City this season, including an outing in the season-opening Community Shield.
He has just 10 minutes of Premier League football to his name and debate continues to rage on whether staying put or heading elsewhere would be his best choice when another window of opportunity presents itself in January.
Guardiola has high hopes for him, as the apparent successor to David Silva in a playmaking post, but regular minutes are required if a prized academy graduate is to fully unlock his undoubted potential.