Phil Foden’s ‘Manc Gazza’ derby day magic gives all Man City fans what they wanted – Alex Brotherton

As Phil Foden lifted the ball into the air, over the head of Victor Lindelof and collected it on the other side, 50-odd thousand jaws inside the Etihad Stadium and millions more watching on TV began to drop.

Foden pushed the ball forward with his midriff and struck a fierce shot towards goal, thousands rising in anticipation of the goal of the season. Unfortunately David de Gea pulled off a fine save, but within seconds Kevin de Bruyne had converted after some penalty box pinball to restore City’s lead.

Had Foden scored, it would have been a goal not too dissimilar to Paul Gascoigne’s famous effort against Scotland at Wembley in Euro 96. It was a moment of genius from the Manchester City youngster, arguably the highlight of a stand-out performance in his side’s 4-1 win against Manchester United.

Being a City academy graduate, local lad and lifelong City fan comes with certain expectations on derby day, ones which Foden has perhaps previously failed to live up to.

The 21-year-old has now faced United seven times in his still-fledgling career, but the 2-0 win in November aside, has often cut a frustrated figure against them.

For one of our own to score against United, a club that prides itself on building sides around academy talents (they might want to re-think that) would be a dream come true for City fans. Whether because of inexperience, poor team performances, being left on the bench or just bad luck, that as of yet hasn’t quite happened for Foden.

On Sunday though he was brilliant. Foden did everything but score as a typically controlling second half City performance blew their neighbors away. United barely had a touch after half-time and, along with De Bruyne, Foden was a chief architect of City’s dominance.

“The most important position in football is the striker,” Pep Guardiola said when asked about Foden’s display. “I have [Foden] was surrounded by players. You don’t have time, you have to be so good. In that position you have to find him at the right moment. The second goal was excellent, the control and the finishing.

“The way he fought and ran and pressed, the rhythm – when he, Kevin and Bernardo go so aggressive in the first action it’s addictive for the players behind them and we can stay high. The second half was a perfect example of that.”

Guardiola is right; over the 90 minutes Foden did everything that City fans have come to love him for. Of course, Guardiola was not entirely satisfied, but then he never is.

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“I have [Foden] was a little impatient in the final third, in the moments when we shoot in the second half. You have to make an extra pass if you don’t see the clear shot, take one second more, two seconds more.”

to goal, that goal, would have been nice, but Foden’s performance still meant so much to City supporters. After years of waiting, it finally looks like the Blues have a young player, their young player, who is going to stick it to United for years to come.

And he loves the club. And he loves us. And he hates United, and that feels so good.

How do you think Phil Foden played against United? Follow our City Is Ours writer Alex Brotherton on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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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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