Football

Guardiola: Phil Foden must not look to emulate Kevin de Bruyne

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola played down expectations on midfielder Phil Foden to fill the void left by injured playmaker Kevin de Bruyne, after the 20-year-old inspired them to a 3-1 FA Cup victory over Cheltenham Town yesterday morning (Singapore time).

City looked to be heading out of the competition after Alfie May put fourth-tier Cheltenham ahead. But Foden equalised in the 81st minute before Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres struck to secure the team's passage to the fifth round.

De Bruyne missed the encounter at Whaddon Road after he picked up a hamstring issue in last Wednesday's 2-0 English Premier League win over Aston Villa.

Guardiola said the impressive Foden has to focus on being the best version of himself.

"We have the players. Phil has to be Phil and not be Kevin de Bruyne because there is only one Kevin de Bruyne," said the Spaniard, who expects to be without the Belgian maestro for up to six weeks.

"He needs to keep doing what he has been doing... Phil is in a great moment and with great confidence. He's clinical in front of goal.

"Phil can play in the middle, can play winger, can play in a false nine position. He's playing really well, again in the right moment he scored a goal."

City meet Swansea in the fifth round of the FA Cup and they face West Bromwich Albion in the EPL on Wednesday morning (Singapore time). - REUTERS

Football