Phil Foden can take on Sergio Aguero role for Man City against Manchester United

For over a decade, Sergio Agüero was Manchester City’s ultimate big-game player. The Argentine was one of the league’s most feared marksmen, but since his departure from him, Stockport’s own Phil Foden has stepped up to the plate.

In big games, in big moments, Foden has made the difference and is showing similar traits to one of his childhood idols. So maybe it’s time for him to make the difference in one of the games he grew up watching in the stands – the Manchester Derby.

A lot has been said about City’s failure to, so far, recruit a recognized number nine. But the facts don’t lie, in that time, Pep Guardiola has masterminded his side to a Premier League title, a Carabao Cup and a club-first Champions League final. Not to mention this season’s team is still on course to capture a historic treble.

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But to continue on that path, they will have to swat aside their cross-town rivals, with Liverpool still breathing down their necks in the Premier League.

Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United are struggling. Considering all the Red Devils’ problems seemed to rest with their backline under Ole Gunnar Solskjær, it has flipped completely on its head under Rangnick – with United particularly wasteful in their last game against Watford, failing to convert from 23 attempts on goal.

In comparison, the Blues are the league’s second-highest scorers with 64, just six behind Liverpool. City certainly know how to put the ball into the back of the net, and Foden has been a big reason behind that.

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His transition into Guardiola’s go-to man for the false nine role has been outstanding for a 21-year-old, and this season he has shown his hunger to influence the game on the biggest of occasions.

A key example was his Man of the Match display at Anfield. Foden ran the show and took his goal – City’s equalizer – with such precision and quality, slamming the ball across Alisson into the bottom corner.

Against low and compact defenses too, Foden has often been the one to pick the lock. He scored the winner away against Brentford, ghosting in behind the defense before applying a deft finish, and more recently, in a game where City were up against it, showed elite composure to pounce on Everton’s only mistake to score a crucial, crucial goal.

Obviously, Foden has a long way to go to reach Agüero’s standards. The Argentine scored a staggering 44 goals in 68 games against the top six sides and was constantly the man for the big occasion. His goals from him won titles, not just games, and it’s something Foden will surely want to replicate with his boyhood club.

At such a young age, Foden has shown glimpses of that same mentality, and it would not come as a massive shock if he were to be the star against United on Sunday. He’s got all the technical quality, but it’ll be his mentality that will separate him from some of the world’s elite players as his fledgling career continues to blossom.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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