Pep Guardiola apologised to Phil Foden for the youngster's lack of minutes after his cameo goal in Manchester City's win over Dinamo Zagreb.
Foden has played only 10 minutes of Premier League football this season, but scored the second in City's Champions League win on Tuesday having been brought on in the 90th minute.
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Afterwards, Guardiola said he had personally apologised to the 19-year-old for his lack of game-time, saying: "He deserves to play. I want to give him minutes. Every time I don't play him, I am in front of him saying I'm sorry.
"But it's Kevin De Bruyne there, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, David Silva, Gundogan, I'm so sorry. I know the best way to grow up is to play minutes, but he's so young.
Phil Foden's minutes this season
|Champions League||4 mins|
|Premier League||10 mins|
|Carabao Cup||90 mins|
|Community Shield||1 min|
"I don't know how many players that age play have played more minutes in the recent past, the minutes he has played the last season with us, but he's going to be an incredible player for us in the future. We trust in him a lot. But it is what it is."
Foden said after the game he is happy to bide his time as he waits for chances to break into City's line-up.
"I am always itching to play," Foden said. "But if you look at the players ahead of me it is quite difficult.
"I just think it is all about being patient and wanting to improve every day and waiting for the opportunity. Here I was happy to make the most of it."
Guardiola also tipped Raheem Sterling to become an even better player following his goal and assist from the bench, meaning he has now been involved in 19 goals in his last 16 home Champions League games.
"I said many times, in a few years he will be a better player than today," Guardiola said. "Raheem is a player when we cross, he's always there. He has this talent, he loves to score goals, he's always there.
"They defended really well, one against one. He said I think a few days ago about the chances he missed at Everton, but he was never upset, he was thinking about the next one.
"And that's the point I think the feeling I had when we arrived here, he'd play good but the goal he didn't care about. Now the movement is there. But still, he can improve in the last decision.
"The pass to Phil was perfect for his assist, but he has a little gap to improve to be even more clinical. That's why he has scored a lot of goals in the last season."