Miami: Phil Foden went to this summer’s World Cup as a fan but the Manchester City teenager is determined to play a starring role for England at Qatar 2022.
England’s run to the semi-finals of the World Cup in Russia came despite the absence of a recognised creative midfielder, a vacancy seen as a priority for manager Gareth Southgate to fill.
Foden has already been mentioned as a possible answer to England’s creative problems.
The 18-year-old, who helped England win the Under-17 World Cup last year, wants to increase his game time in the Premier League after making 10 appearances last campaign.
His progress was stalled after spending seven weeks on the sidelines with an ankle problem but making his debut in the Champions League was another important milestone.
Manager Pep Guardiola recognises the Stockport-born star’s undoubted potential and is set to refuse any loan moves to keep him at the Etihad.
Foden, who sat out the Under-19 European Championships this summer in order to take part in Manchester City’s US tour, took in the opening match in Russia and the whole occasion whetted his appetite.
“It all gives me confidence when I read things like that,” said Foden when asked about seeing his name touted as a potential key player for England.
“I’m going to push for it and hopefully I can play more minutes and be there. The England squad is still young, they’re still learning.
“I was in Russia for a week, I watched the first game and it was great.
“Hopefully I’ll be playing in four years time. It’s important to get that feel and experience, definitely.
“Winning the [Under 17] World Cup was a great experience though.
“If you do go to a World Cup, you’ll be ready for it. At the time, Pep said it was better for me to go and play. I listened to him and I’m glad I did.”
On refusing the call-up by England Under-19s, he added: “It was more down to the fact that Pep wanted to keep me here and I wanted to stay here as well. I feel I will develop more playing against older people and better players.
“I really want the chance to impress.”
Foden has crucially got minutes in the bank during City’s two matches in the International Champions Cup against Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool with Guardiola using a young squad as the majority of his title-winning players are enjoying a break following the World Cup.
“It was a great opportunity to make my debut last season,” said Foden, who will be part of the squad to take on Bayern Munich in Miami on Saturday.
“I do feel a bit more responsibility now but it’s good to feel that. It keeps you on your toes and makes you play better.
“I want to try to follow the senior players and learn from them — David Silva was my idol growing up and getting advice from him now is great.”
Foden’s rise to fame is made all the more remarkable considering just three years ago, the self-confessed City fan was a ball-boy at the Etihad on matchdays.
“I remember I was sitting at the opposite end to where Vinny Kompany scored against United to help City win the title, “ he recalled.
“It was just a mad atmosphere.
“I liked being a ball-boy but a few times I’ve fallen over the hoardings when I’ve tried to jump over them.”