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Phil Foden is competing with Kevin De Bruyne for a starting spot

Phil Foden isn't competing with Jack Grealish or Riyad Mahrez for a starting spot, he needs to get ahead of Kevin De Bruyne.

English journalist Sam Lee joined The Football Show to discuss Manchester City, Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden.

Manchester City beat RB Leipzig 7-0 on Tuesday night.

Pep Guardiola's side are still in contention for the Premier League and look better suited to win the Champions League than ever before. And yet, nobody is suggesting this is the best version of what City can be. It's not even the best version of what they should be.

Erling Haaland's arrival hasn't disrupted the team. He's scored 39 goals already, more than Man City scored in full seasons in previous years. Kevin De Bruyne is not at his best, but he's also racking up assists with ease also.

The problem for City is that they are conceding too many goals and their identity is no longer obvious.

In the past, Guardiola's sides retained possession and starved their opponents into submission. But now that Haaland is in the team, they have a focal point and someone who thrives in counter attacks. Haaland wants space. Guariola wants to retain possession.

Sam Lee explains that Guardiola is trying to balance these desires by starting two direct attackers and filling the rest of the team with players who prioritize retaining possession.

And that means that Phil Foden has to compete with Kevin De Bruyne for a starting spot rather than Jack Grealish.

"Foden has kind of lost his place," Lee said.

"It's for various reasons but the tactical one is he's a bit more direct than Grealish or Mahrez. And he doesn't quite have the same appreciation for when to slow the game down and not lose the ball so easily. Guardiola is always trying to find this balance.

"Guardiola only seems to pick two of the more direct [players]. It's normally Haaland and De Bruyne. With De Bruyne not playing well and Foden kind of improving a bit, you've got Foden coming back in."

While De Bruyne is having a down year, it's very hard to envision a Manchester City side that starts Phil Foden ahead of him. Foden is a quality player and Kenny Cuningham has previously explained that he should be playing centrally, but it's a huge call to take the place of City's longtime star.

Evan Ferguson must start against France - Dan McDonnell.


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Erling Haaland Kevin De Bruyne Man City Manchester City Phil Foden