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Pep Guardiola agrees with Kevin De Bruyne over potential Phil Foden change at Man City

Pep Guardiola has followed Kevin De Bruyne in tipping Phil Foden to shine in a central role for Manchester City following his stunning hat-trick in the Manchester derby.

Erling Haaland's latest treble stole the headlines during Sunday's emphatic 6-3 win over Manchester United, but Foden also bagged a three-goal haul to put Erik ten Hag's side to the sword.

The 22-year-old academy graduate has now surpassed 50 career goals for his boyhood club, with most of his minutes coming as a wide forward in a front three. But De Bruyne, City's creator-in-chief, has insisted that Foden could thrive in a deeper, central role.

Speaking on Sunday, the Belgian playmaker said: “He will improve because he's only 22. I know at 22 I wasn't the player that I am now. He's so good so it's trying to find consistency. He's been playing unbelievably for us so he will be here for a long time.

“What is he good at? The better question is what is he not good at. He can play in a lot of different positions. I think eventually he will end up playing centrally in my opinion. But in this moment in time it is maybe a little bit better for him on the wing.

"Have more freedom and fewer instructions so he flows into the game. I eventually see him playing more centrally when he gets older and gets more stamina. It's all about little details to just find more consistency in the performances."

Join the debate! Where do you think Foden should be playing for Man City? Let us know here.

Foden has been tipped to shine in a central role (PA)

And Guardiola doubled down on that stance prior to City's Champions League clash with FC Copenhagen. "I agree with Kevin," the City chief said when he was asked for his take on De Bruyne's comments.

"But playing in the middle you need to pay a little bit more attention and [Foden has] some aspects where he still has to grow. He has an unbelievable, natural instinct to play football but when you play in the middle you have to pay attention to what happens around you.

"In the wing, it is easier. In the middle, you have many things that happen there — especially without the ball. It is this where he needs to improve but it is normal. With his age and desire to learn, he will do it, no doubt."

Erling Haaland and Phil Foden both scored hat-tricks against Man Utd (Getty Images)

Guardiola had previously said last year that Foden, who was dubbed as David Silva's long-term successor and played as a central midfielder in City's academy, was likely to transition into in central role similar to De Bruyne's. But the City boss also hinted that the switch was unlikely to come anytime soon.

Speaking in March 2021, Guardiola said: “[Foden] makes all the actions in one explosion. When you play in the middle you have to be more calm. Maybe it’s because he’s 20, he has incredible energy to do everything.

“It doesn’t mean he’s going to change now. That comes with time and seasons... Every player at 28 is better than at 20 but he has the desire, he loves the club and I am pretty sure he will. If there’s one player that can do it he is the one.”

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