Pep Guardiola says next decade belongs to Phil Foden

Manchester City manager issues bold prediction after 18-year-old impresses on first Premier League start in 2-0 victory over Cardiff

Pep Guardiola says Phil Foden is 'absolutely ready' for the Manchester City first team after he made his full Premier League debut against Cardiff

Pep Guardiola backed Phil Foden to be a Manchester City star for the next decade after the teenager made his first Premier League start in the champions' 2-0 win over Cardiff.

Though Foden could not join Kevin De Bruyne and Leroy Sane on the scoresheet, he forced a couple of saves out of Neil Etheridge in the second half and saw one close-range shot strike the post.

Guardiola has seemed reluctant to lean on the 18-year-old too much in City's pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple, but Wednesday's showing suggested he is ready to feature more.

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"Phil, we know it, he's young but he can do everything," Guardiola said. "He can create chances, he's incredible with his vision. We can count on them and that's good.

"Every day he is in the locker room, he is part of the group and we trust him. He's absolutely ready to play with us. He did everything well.

"I'm happy with the way he plays. He's at a good level. He could have scored two goals, he's exceptional."

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Highlights from Manchester City's 2-0 win over Cardiff in the Premier League

While other highly-rated teenagers have looked abroad for first-team opportunities, Foden signed a new City deal until 2024 in December and Guardiola said he would get his rewards in the long run.

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"It's not easy for him with (David) Silva, Bernardo (Silva), (Ilkay) Gundogan, De Bruyne, but he wants to be here, he's delighted to be here," the City boss added.

"I assure you next year he will play more minutes. That's the process. He's 18 or 19. For the next decade he will be important."

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Victory sent City back to the top of the table and they were ahead inside six minutes through De Bruyne, though the Belgian admitted after the match his shot from a tight angle on the touchline was intended as a cross.

Sane doubled the lead just before the break with a low shot following a corner, and Cardiff rarely looked like getting back into it until a couple of late chances, the best of them seeing Ederson race off his line to deny Oumar Niasse.

Phil Foden in action for Manchester City against Cardiff at the Etihad Stadium 2:18
Jamie Redknapp says Phil Foden is in the right environment to reach his potential.

It was another composed performance from City, despite Guardiola making seven changes from the side that beat Fulham on Saturday.

Despite picking up the man-of-the-match award for his performance against Cardiff, Kevin De Bruyne says he's not yet at his best level after recovering from injury

"These players have helped us, they are not guys who did not play for two months and are not happy," Guardiola said of those that came in.

"We have a good squad and without it we cannot fight for the four competitions. It's impossible. We are here in April because we have confidence in the players."

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