Iniesta comparisons massive: Foden

Manchester City's Phil Foden (left) and Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta.
Manchester City's Phil Foden (left) and Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta.PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

LONDON • Phil Foden has laughed off comparisons to Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta in the wake of his sparkling performance for Manchester City in the League Cup on Tuesday night, saying that the Spaniard is "on a different planet".

Foden was speaking after he scored his first goal for the Premier League champions, who got their League Cup defence off to a flying start with a 3-0 victory over third-tier Oxford United as Pep Guardiola's team moved into the last 16.

The 18-year-old, making only his fifth start for City, also set up Riyad Mahrez's goal and had a hand in Gabriel Jesus' opener, prompting Karl Robinson, Oxford's manager, to lavish praise on him.

Robinson used the word "genius" when asked about Foden and drew parallels with Iniesta, although this was not the first time there were comparisons between the pair.

City fans call him the "Stockport Iniesta" and some at the club also refer to him by that moniker.

"Yeah, I am happy about that," said Foden, laughing, when told about their nickname for him.

"But Iniesta, come on, he is on a different planet, so for them to call me that is massive, it means a lot."

The England youth international, said he was improving all the time by working alongside some of the best midfielders in the world.

"Training with the likes of Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva, players in the same position as me, I am learning from them every day. Watching what they do has really brought me on as a player. Working with Pep as well has really helped a big part of my game, bringing it on."

Guardiola, who managed Iniesta at Barcelona, was keen to play down those comparisons but had plenty of praise for Foden.

"Andres is a big, big word, but I have said many times we are delighted with Phil," said Guardiola.

"I'm not going to say he's going to become Andres Iniesta, because that will put a lot of pressure on him... but he's an exceptional young player and, for the next decade, Manchester City will have an amazing player."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2018, with the headline 'Iniesta comparisons massive: Foden'. Print Edition | Subscribe