Kevin De Bruyne hints at future Phil Foden position

Phil Foden is set for a long and prosperous future at the Etihad.

Kevin De Bruyne admits Phil Foden’s future lies in the centre of the pitch despite the Man City academy product flourishing on the wing and scoring his first club hat-trick against Manchester United.

Phil Foden matched Erling Haaland’s three-goal haul in a 6-3 thrashing of Manchester United at the Etihad. Phil Foden is City’s second-highest top scorer this season with six across all competitions.

The 22-year-old also scored his 50th goal and became the youngest player to hit that milestone under Pep Guardiola’s management.

When asked whether he believes Foden can improve, his City team-mate said: “He will because he’s only 22. I know at 22 I wasn’t the player that I am now. He’s so good so it’s trying to find consistency. He’s been playing unbelievably for us so he will be here for a long time.”

“What is he not good at? He can play in a lot of different positions,” De Bruyne added. “I think eventually he will end up playing centrally in my opinion but in this moment in time it is maybe a little bit better for him on the wing to have more freedom and fewer instructions so he flows into the game.

”I eventually see him playing more centrally when he gets older and gets more stamina. It’s all about little details to just find more consistency in the performances.“

While Foden is set for a long and prosperous future at the Etihad, De Bruyne is now City’s longest-serving player and – following the exit of Raheem Sterling – the only survivor from the season before Guardiola’s arrival in the summer of 2016.

”I don’t feel like the energy before was any different as a player – maybe there was from management. If you have a couple of players with one years left on their contract and they choose a different challenge, it’s maybe best to get some money for them even if the players were so important for us.

“The guys who came in have done really well so we have to give props to them for coming in, changing teams and playing the way they are so it’s good for us.”

De Bruyne reserved special praise for Manuel Akanji, the €17m signing from Borussia Dortmund who has slotted into the centre of City’s defence seamlessly and was trusted to start ahead of Ruben Dias in Sunday’s derby.

“He’s been absolutely unreal,” De Bruyne said. “He came in, didn’t train much and played absolutely great. It feels like he’s been playing with us for a while. To have five centre-backs of the quality that we have, we are lucky. We will need them because we have seen that injuries can happen.”

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