Pep Guardiola and Phil Foden. Credit: Getty.
Pep Guardiola said the “exceptional” Phil Foden can operate in five different positions because he “knows how to play football”.
The Manchester City manager even joked that the No.47 would excel at left-back, when speaking in the second part of Friday’s pre-Burnley press conference.
It comes after a week in which Foden thrived for England in centre-midfield, and is reportedly on the verge of clinching a new long-term deal at City.
While Guardiola confessed he doesn’t get involved with contract negotiations and is therefore unsure about Foden’s situation, the ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager feels a new contract is in everyone’s best interest.
“I heard in a paper how close they are [to signing an extension],” he told reporters via video link. “I don’t know, honestly.
“I cannot deny with his age and his quality, I’m pretty sure the club and Phil will do as much as possible to remain for a long time at this club. But I don’t know because I am not involved in these type of things.
“Phil can play in five positions,” he continued. “He can play in both attacking midfielders [positions] in the pockets, and can play three positions up front. There are players that play in positions, and there are players that play football.
“Phil knows how to play football. If he knows how to play football, he will play left-back and play good. There are players that I have to play in this position, otherwise he doesn’t play football. But Phil is an exceptional player. He can play in every one, not yet, but he is so young and in time he will get it.”
Deploying players in different positions will certainly be at the forefront of Guardiola’s mind with Ferran Torres, the club’s only recognised striker, out for two to three months, as the Catalan confirmed in Friday’s press conference.
Guardiola admitted he doesn’t have a “proper” centre-forward to replace Torres, but said the team must adapt.
“We will find a solution,” he said. “We’ll miss Ferran, we have his special quality in that position, but we will find a solution.
“They are not proper strikers but I want to try and play better and better, to create more chances, to put more players in the box to score goals and try to solve our problems with many players.”