Pep Guardiola says Manchester City won’t be signing a replacement for David Silva, because he has faith in Phil Foden to fill his boots.
The legendary Spaniard is set to leave Manchester at the end of the 2019-20 season with 19-year-old Foden – known to some as the ‘Stockport Iniesta’ – finally set to get his big chance in the City first team.
Foden has made 21 appearances in all competitions this season, though only one of his 11 Premier League outings has seen him on the pitch for more than an hour.
“Phil is an incredible player but he still has things to improve,” Guardiola told reporters. “Sometimes it takes time to understand exactly what he has to do, sometimes you have to be patient.
“But David is going to leave this season and we are not going to buy any player in his position because we have Phil.
“We trust Phil. If we didn’t believe in him, we might go to the market to replace David, but we have Phil.”
Guardiola has been criticised at times during his City tenure for his apparent unwillingness to play City’s youngsters, given the wealth of talent being honed at the Etihad Campus.
He has warned against English football’s propensity to overhype its young stars in response, with the likes of Eric Garcia, Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Tommy Doyle having had a taste of first-team football in recent weeks.
“I would like to help the young players here but this is a club that is so demanding,” Guardiola added. “You have to win games. Even when you win four titles here it isn’t enough – and that is the truth.
“We won four titles last season and it wasn’t enough because we didn’t win the Champions League.
“That is the reality – and the young players here have to compete against incredible central defenders and incredible midfielders.
“It is a tough reality that exceptional players like Phil Foden don’t play the minutes they should because we have other incredible players.”
Opportunities for City’s youngsters could be forthcoming at the end of January, with cup ties against Fulham and Manchester United.
City fielded a strong side for the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final with United, and hold a healthy 3-1 lead going into the second game on January 29.