Football: City have Foden so no need to replace Silva, says Guardiola

Manchester City's Phil Foden in action with Burnley's Josh Brownhill as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease. Reuters
Manchester City midfielder Riyad Mahrez scores from the penalty spot for the third goal against Burnley. PHOTO: AFP

MANCHESTER (REUTERS) - The talent of Manchester City's 20-year-old midfielder Phil Foden, who scored twice in the 5-0 home win over Burnley on Monday (June 22), means the club do not have to invest in a replacement for the departing David Silva, says manager Pep Guardiola.

Spaniard Silva, 34, is due to leave City at the end of this campaign after 10 seasons with the club but in Foden City look to have a ready made replacement.

"In this position, when David says it is his last year I spoke with the board that we have Phil (Foden) so we don't have to invest," said Guardiola.

Foden, who scored the first and fifth goals in the rout and looked composed and classy throughout, said Monday's match was his best in a City shirt but Guardiola was not so sure.

"I remember some games in the cup when he played similar. I am happy for him and he says what he feels," added Guardiola.

"I said many times when he played he never played bad. He loves to play football. When he has a day off he is with his friends with the ball.

"Every time he played with us he always played at a high level. But he is 20 years old and he needs to improve. He will be an important player for this club for the next decade. He deserves it. He is a joy to watch," he said.

Guardiola hopes Silva, who also scored against Burnley, will be given a proper farewell when fans are back in the stadiums.

"We are going to, when it is possible to have people back to The Etihad, to try and have not one empty seat for this incredible legend," he said.

"With Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, Pablo Zabaleta - these players bring these players to another level and they deserve real fireworks. David is unique in the small spaces."

However, Guardiola was less upbeat about City's all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero, who could be out for the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury during Monday's win.

"It doesn't look good. We are going to see tomorrow. He was struggling in the last month with a problem in the knee. We will see what he has done but it doesn't look good for the season," said Guardiola.

Aguero went down under a challenge from defender Ben Mee on the stroke of half-time with the Burnley captain ruled by VAR to have made contact with his foot.

The Argentine limped off to be replaced by Gabriel Jesus, the club's only other recognised central striker.

While second-placed City have next to no chance of catching leaders Liverpool, who have a 20-point lead with eight games remaining, the absence of Aguero will be a blow to Guardiola's Champions League hopes.

City lead 2-1 against Real Madrid from the away leg of their last 16 match and are hoping to reach August's 'Final Eight' of the competition in Lisbon.

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