'He's like a little boy on the pitch' - Guardiola hails passionate Foden & says he's a 'dream' in training

Phil Foden Manchester CityGetty Images

Phil Foden is in line for his 50th Premier League appearance for Manchester City and Pep Guardiola described the Academy graduate as a "dream" for any manager.

The 20-year-old will be just the third City player to reach the landmark figure before his 21st birthday if he features against Fulham at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

It’s more than three years since he made his debut in the Champions League and the boyhood City fan has now reached 88 appearances in total for the club he joined as an eight-year-old.

Guardiola has long predicted a huge future for Foden and says he is an inspiration for other young players trying to break into the first team.

The City boss said: “We are more than delighted to have him from the Academy. The message he can give [to other young players] if you have the skills and especially passion.

“I love his passion. The only thing in his mind is to be a better player for himself, his club and his national country.

“In training he is a dream come true for managers. He’s so patient, normally when you become older you lose this. But he's like a little boy when he goes on the pitch in the training session, the first thing he is looking for is the ball and to play with his mates, to pass and to shoot.

“The first achievement is 50 games, he will play much, much more in the future. Hopefully he can have the passion to improve but knowing him it will happen.”

Guardiola will hit a milestone of his own in the match against Fulham, with the Spaniard taking charge of his 700th game as a coach following his time with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now with City.

The 49-year-old, who recently signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him at the Etihad Stadium until at least 2023, joked that he was only halfway through his managerial career.

“I will do 700 more then retire,” he said. “I never expected it. It's good to have 700 games with few defeats in these games, for all the players and staff we had in Barca B, the first team, Bayern and here.

“It's a great number, with all the people we made incredible things together and hopefully we can do more in the future.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola said he was unsure over the future of Fernandinho, with the Brazilian’s current deal set to expire at the end of the season.

“The contracts aren't my part of the club. I'm not a manager just a trainer,” he said. “His last game against Porto showed his importance. We need him a lot this season.

“Last season we needed him a lot in a position with injuries. We only have two in his position now, he's coming back. The club will talk about his contract.”