Man City's Foden must stay calm to reach next level, says Guardiola

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v West Ham United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - February 27, 2021 Manchester City's Phil Foden during the warm up before the match Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hailed Phil Foden's rapid rise but said the England midfielder needed to show more composure and play at different tempos to further improve his game.

The 20-year-old, considered one of England's brightest prospects, has been a standout player for City this season with 11 goals and six assists in all competitions.

"He is a top, top player but still he is playing football in one rhythm and he has to combine different rhythms to be an exceptional player," Guardiola told BT Sport.

"He makes all the actions in one explosion. When you play in the middle you have to be more calm. Maybe it's because he's 20, he has incredible energy to do everything.

"It doesn't mean he's going to change now. That comes with time and seasons... Every player at 28 is better than at 20 but he has the desire, he loves the club and I am pretty sure he will. If there's one player that can do it he is the one."

Foden made his City debut four years ago as a substitute in a Champions League game against Feyenoord but limited playing time in the last couple of seasons meant he was linked with loan moves away.

Guardiola said Foden had shown enough quality to remain at City.

"It doesn't matter if you are 25 or 20, if you have the skills and the talent you can play," Guardiola said. "I think he was patient enough to have his moment and he has to continue to be patient."

City are top of the table with 65 points from 27 games, 14 points clear of second-placed Manchester United, who they host on Sunday.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; editing by Neil Fullick)

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