Five things to know about Manchester City and England U17s' Phil Foden
England Under-17s won the World Cup with a brilliant 5-2 victory over Spain this weekend, as Manchester City's Phil Foden scored twice in the final to cap an outstanding personal tournament in India.
Foden, 17, was awarded the Golden Ball best player of the tournament award and has been catapulted into the spotlight. Here are five things to know about the highly-rated midfielder.
Pep Guardiola is a fan
The City boss was already doing his research about his new club long before he arrived at the Etihad Stadium in June 2016 and was made aware of the qualities of the prodigious youngster. The club has invested over £200 million in their academy and that age group was seen as particularly special -- with Foden identified as a potential first-team player along with fellow England winger Jadon Sancho, who has since moved on to Borussia Dortmund, and Spanish attacker Brahim Diaz.
As a 16-year-old, Foden was named as a substitute for last season's Champions League clash with Celtic. He is still to make his debut for the first-team although Guardiola suggested he would have played in last Tuesday's Carabao Cup win over Wolverhampton Wanderers had he not been in India.
He had already impressed on the preseason tour to the United States with a mature performance in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in Houston, where Guardiola told fans that they should feel fortunate to have been given the first glimpse of Foden's talent.
"I don't have words -- I would like to have the right words to describe what I saw," the Catalan said after game. "You are the lucky guys who saw the first game, for the first team for Manchester City, of this guy. It's a long time since I saw something like this. His performance was another level."
"He's 17 years old, he's a City player, he grew up in the academy, he loves the club, he's a City fan and for us he's a gift," Guardiola added after his debut against United in the summer.
Foden was born in Stockport and joined the club at U9 level after playing for local club Reddish Vulcans. He has a reputation for being down-to-earth and hard-working -- determined to succeed without an ego.
The club are keen to shield the youngster from the spotlight -- aware that he is still developing and yet to make it to the first team -- but while Sancho decided he was ready for first team football and left for Dortmund, Foden appears to have put his trust in Guardiola. The manager has a reputation from previous clubs for bringing through players, and the teenager recently tweeted a picture of them together with the caption: "Learning from the best."
Plenty of clubs around the north-west were aware of Foden's talent as a boy but City won the race. However that didn't stop former United player Gary Neville claiming he had made a mistake following his performance in Houston.
"He's at the wrong Manchester club for getting a sustained opportunity. City have a lot of great kids. They should be playing," the TV pundit wrote on Twitter.
German clubs have also taken to snapping up young English talent -- aware that they often find it difficult to get an opportunity to play at Premier League clubs.
With Sancho already making the switch to Dortmund, Bundesliga clubs will also be aware of Foden's qualities. After the European U17 Championship in May, German coach Christian Wuck said: "Sancho and Foden are very good. I've never seen better players than these two at this age."
Played out of position
Foden is already a very intelligent and adaptable footballer who can play in a number of attacking roles. "What position did he play? Because when he's coming back I'm going to play him in this position," Guardiola joked after hearing of his two goals in the final against Spain.
For England, he played more on the wide-right but for City he is generally used as a more orthodox No. 10 where his vision and touch marks him out as the perfect Guardiola player in the style of Andres Iniesta or David Silva. Though clearly he has some competition with Kevin De Bruyne in the form of his life.
Foden is the youngest of a number of Academy products that train with the first team, although he does play for the EDS (Elite Development Squad) and U18 teams.
Guardiola sees it as the best way of nurturing young talent by embedding them in the squad to learn and play with senior players.
"He trains with us every single day," the City boss said. "He's just 17 but he is a player in our squad. He's in the locker room every day with the guys -- it's the best way to learn from the experienced guys that have played at a high level."
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.