Pep Guardiola will not compare Phil Foden to Andres Iniesta but feels the teenager has what it takes to play for Manchester City for the next 10 years.
Foden, a boyhood City fan who has come through the club’s academy, scored his first senior goal in a 3-0 win at Oxford United in the EFL Cup third round on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old was involved in Gabriel Jesus’ headed opener and later sent Riyad Mahrez clear on goal for City’s second with a glorious pass before capping a star showing with an injury-time strike.
Oxford boss Karl Robinson said Foden reminded him of Iniesta but Guardiola, who coached the Spain midfielder at Barcelona, suggested the comparisons are premature.
“My dream is for him to stay 10 years and, if Phil stays for 10 years, he can play regularly and after I don’t know what is going to happen with him,” Guardiola told a news conference.
“I am not going to say he is going to become Andres Iniesta because it puts pressure on him.
“Iniesta is by far one of the best players I ever saw in my life so we cannot put the pressure on Phil.
“But he has the quality to stay here for 10 years because I think he wants to stay, I think the club wants him to.
“But step by step, he needs to play regularly, but I think he has all the skills to play with us.”
Foden has made two brief substitute appearances in the Premier League this season, with Guardiola claiming the teenager’s physical development is why City did not invest further in the transfer market.
“Phil arrived last season and showed he was special and that is why we didn’t buy any attacking midfielders in that position,” Guardiola added. “Because we have Phil and he belongs in our team and if he fights he will have his minutes.
“He is guy who is so physical and strong. He grew up a lot the last year, he still needs to grow but I think after more than one year with us, the rhythm and pace we play with, he has got it and that is why he is ready to play with us home and away.”