LONDON (Reuters) - Phil Foden’s first Premier League start on Sunday lasted less than an hour but the 19-year-old felt that playing alongside an inspired Kevin De Bruyne provided an invaluable lesson that can only help him in his quest to become a Manchester City regular.
Foden acquitted himself well on the left-hand side of City’s midfield although his 56-minute contribution was overshadowed by De Bruyne, who scored two sublime goals and created another for Raheem Sterling in the 3-0 win at Arsenal.
“When you play with great players it makes your life easy,” Foden said. “It’s a pleasure to play with Kevin De Bruyne, he is one of our biggest players. I feel lucky to learn off him.”
City manager Pep Guardiola reserved praise for the outstanding English prospect Foden, who has started a handful of Champions League games but has spent most of the season kicking his heels on the substitutes’ bench.
“He played so good, as we knew it, as normal. He played in a position he was not used to but playing away at a big club, always he does every action with a good rhythm,” said Guardiola.
De Bruyne was unplayable in the first half, thumping home a side-footed opener from outside the area and then making it 3-0 with a silky finish just before halftime.
He was denied a hat-trick before the break when his curler was tipped acrobatically against the post by Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno.
The Belgian also provided the assist for Raheem Sterling’s goal.
“Kevin sees situations and passes that others don’t,” Guardiola said. “He makes incredible goals and it’s an incredible victory after what has happened and our position.”
With Arsenal’s situation going from bad to worse and interim manager Freddie Ljungberg failing to get a spark from his squad, talk again turned to the prospect of Guardiola’s assistant Mikel Arteta, a former Gunners’ player, taking over at the Emirates.
“He is part of the huge success we have had. He was an important, important part,” Guardiola said of his fellow Spaniard. “I think ultimately he knows, we have spoken quite a few times. I have told the opinion to the club about Mikel.
“What will happen will happen. I think he is part of our staff. What is going to happen, I don’t know. We have a joke, ‘you have many offers, you have many offers’.
“When he wants to talk we are open to talk but it’s private.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ian Chadband