Phil Foden will be an integral player for Manchester City over the next decade, according to Pep Guardiola, after the midfielder enjoyed his self-proclaimed best game to date for the club.
The 20-year-old played a starring role in his side's 5-0 demolition of Burnley at the Etihad Stadium on Monday, netting two goals and proving key in the build-up to two more with a pair of exquisite passes.
Foden is already a two-time title winner with the Premier League champions and started their Carabao Cup final triumph over Aston Villa earlier this season two years after he came on at Wembley as a late substitute, but now Guardiola has predicted that he is poised for an even greater career with the club over the coming years
"We cannot forget he is 20 years old [and that] he has to improve," the Catalan said after the match. "But he will be an important player for the next decade in this club.
"The minutes he has earned, he deserves it. Every minute he plays, it’s a joy to watch. His behaviour and his attitude [are excellent].
"It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t play. When he plays, he never plays bad. I think every time he plays with us, since he was promoted, he [has] played at a high level."
Guardiola pointed to Foden's abiding love for life and the game away from matchday as key to his rise through the ranks, adding: "He loves to play football.
"You’ll see on Twitter and Instagram, when he’s on his day off, he’s with his friends, with the ball. He loves to go on the beach, and just pass [it around]. He loves to play."
When asked whether he agreed with Foden's own assessment that it was his finest performance in a City shirt, Guardiola was not drawn on the subject while admitting that it was "perfect" if the player thought so.
“I’m not going to discuss it with Phil," he added. "But I remember some games in the cup, he played quite similar.
"I’m happy for him and if he says that he feels it was his best performance, then perfect."