Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz ready for Man City chance - Pep Guardiola
MANCHESTER -- Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola insists England's under-17 World Cup hero Phil Foden is ready for his chance ahead of their Champions League game against Feyenoord.
Foden, 17, was an unused substitute for last season's draw with Celtic and could be in line for his debut against the Eredivisie champions with a place in the round of 16 already secured.
Guardiola said after Saturday's win over Leicester City that will make big changes to his starting lineup, however he said at Tuesday's prematch news conference that he will play a strong side with top place in the group still not completely settled.
Foden, who won the Golden Boy award for best player at the U17 World Cup in India, and Spanish forward Brahim Diaz, 18, have been training with the first team all season and Guardiola says they can force their way into his side.
"They are two young players training this season and what I saw in the preseason, in the World Cup and training; yeah, they are ready," Guardiola said. "If they weren't, they would not be training with us every single day.
"Here at a high level we try to help the young players but they have to have quality to be with us -- it's not just to have fun, just to be careful with the guys from the academy. The skills are there and the qualities are there.
"I think they have the mentality because they are the two guys who want to become football players. It is not easy to find that. They live for their profession. They are two guys who are not too scared to play. If I put them in tomorrow they are going to do well, they are not going to feel the pressure."
City will definitely be without John Stones after the England defender pulled his hamstring in Saturday's victory over Leicester.
Guardiola said they will have to be careful with Vincent Kompany, who is back fit after more than two months out with a calf strain.
He may decide to leave out the Belgium defender for the game against Feyenoord but says he has plenty of options to fill in, with Nicolas Otamendi back from suspension.
"It is a big pity we lost Vincent in an official game with the national team and now John Stones," Guardiola said. "To win the titles we need all the squad.
"On the other side, we have an opportunity to show we can cope with the problems we have because it is not easy to play 12 games with only three central defenders, one of them Vincent only just back.
"How we react. Always when you are champions, you have to handle the big situations, the tough situations. We are going to see how we react in that moment, the most important moment of the season between now and Watford on Jan. 2.
"We have [Eliaquim] Mangala and Vincent [Kompany] and Nico [Otamendi] and of course Kyle [Walker] and Danilo and Fernandinho can as well. [Benjamin] Mendy I think can as well. We have options in that position. We will find a solution. It will not be a problem."
Sergio Aguero could also return for his first game since fainting at half-time of Argentina's friendly defeat to Nigeria in Russia last Tuesday.
He was left out for the game against Leicester with Jesus Gabriel starting instead and Guardiola admits it is his hardest decision to pick between the two players.
"Sergio after the crash, he was fit," the City boss added. "For me he is so tough, so is Gabriel.
"Now it is the toughest decision because both with their different qualities they deserve to play. They have a lot of games and they have to be ready and prepare well."
Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.