‘Always something a bit different’ about Phil Foden, says youth coach

Phil Foden’s youth coach has said there was “always something a bit different” about the England midfielder and that he was “destined for stardom” from the age of seven.

Joe Makin, football development officer at the Reddish Vulcans club in Stockport, taught Foden from 2007 to 2008 and said he was a “shining light” from the beginning.

Foden, who has won six Premier League titles with Manchester City, as well as the Champions League and two FA Cups, is expected to start for England in the Euro 2024 final against Spain in Berlin on Sunday.

Makin, who has coached at the Reddish Vulcans for 30 years, said: “There was always something a bit different with Phil.

“He was always destined for stardom. He was a very talented little boy, which was noticeable from the beginning.

“We’ve had lots of boys play for Reddish Vulcans that have gone on to have good football careers, but Phil was just that little shining light, with his turns and his twists and his mobile ability and above all, the balance.

“He had amazing balance for a little boy.”

He said Foden was always a stand-out player from the beginning, adding: “I could see he was the best one that I’ve ever seen. He had great balance, as I say, and his will to achieve.

“He was always destined to be just that little bit better than the next player and then if the next player got better, he would get even better then.

“It’s an old cliche in football, isn’t it, that it’s the first to arrive but the last to leave because it’s practice, practice, practice.

“He was always on time. And he just had bundles of energy.

“He had the ambitions then to achieve professional status, which obviously he has done.”

Foden has started every game at Euro 2024 despite criticism of his performances in the early stages of the competition.

He has yet to score in Germany but could have a key role to play if England are to overcome favourites Spain on Sunday.

Foden misses a chance against Denmark
Foden has struggled at Euro 2024 (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Makin said he is still in contact with Foden and that he “always” sends messages of support.

His message to Foden ahead of Sunday was: “I’ll just say good luck.

“This is my 30th year with Reddish Vulcans and he is still the best one we’ve produced, really.

“And that’s understandable when you think about it, because he’s achieved the heights that he has achieved.

“And maybe, just maybe, he could go on to achieve even greater heights.”