Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists that he wants Phil Foden to stay with the club for “years and years” amid reports suggesting that he is close to extending his contract.
The 22-year-old, who has less than two years remaining on his current deal at the Etihad Stadium, scored a memorable hat-trick in City’s 6-3 derby win at home against Manchester United on Sunday, with goal machine Erling Braut Haaland also taking home a matchball.
Foden’s second strike against the Red Devils saw him become the youngest player to score 50 goals at club level under Guardiola, beating Barcelona legend Lionel Messi by 37 days.
A recent report claims that the England international is set to sign a new six-year contract with the Citizens this week, with his wages increasing to around £225,000 per week.
Guardiola expressed his desire to keep the academy graduate at the club for many years to come when speaking at a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Copenhagen.
When asked by reporters about Foden’s imminent new deal and how important he is to the first-team squad, Guardiola said: “A lot, young player, a reality to his performances in these years. We want him to stay years and years.”
Guardiola has also hailed the youngster’s improvement during his time at the Etihad, adding: “The impact when I arrived was wow. The second he started to play important games, he doesn’t feel pressure. Like Bernardo (Silva). He behaves better.
“He can do it and in smaller spaces good. As a striker also the movements in behind. Incredible can do many things. Every years the more games you play you’re a better player.”
Foden is recognised for his versatility in Guardiola’s side and he has regularly operated across the front three attacking positions and in midfield.
Kevin De Bruyne recently claimed that Foden will eventually develop into a centre-midfielder, while Guardiola believes the Englishman can in fact operate in five different positions.
“I agree with Kevin, hasn’t played [in centre-midfield] many times,” the Spaniard added. “Phil can play five positions, even play as a left-back.
“In the middle have to pay a bit more attention. Some aspects, his unbelievable instincts. In the middle, the sides is easier. With the ball, especially without, he has to improve. It’s normal. His age and desire to learn he will do it, no doubt.”
Since making his Man City debut in November 2017, Foden has made a total of 180 appearances for the club across all competitions, scoring 51 times and registering 35 assists.
The Stockpot-born playmaker has also won a total of nine major trophies with the Citizens, lifting four Premier League titles, four EFL Cups and one FA Cup.
In the Champions League, Foden has recorded 10 goals and seven assists in 38 matches, including a strike in City’s 4-0 away victory against Sevilla in their opening Group G fixture last month.
Foden – who is expected to be named in Gareth Southgate‘s England squad for the winter World Cup – will be hoping to continue his fine form in front of goal when the Citizens welcome Copenhagen to the Etihad on Wednesday.
City could be without up to four players against the Danish champions, with Guardiola confirming that Kyle Walker is set to join John Stones and Kalvin Phillips on the sidelines, while Rodri is doubtful and will be assessed ahead of kickoff.