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Pep Guardiola believes Phil Foden can play anywhere


 After Gareth Southgate's concern, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola made it plain that he believes Phil Foden can play anywhere in the middle of the pitch.

Gareth Southgate, the manager of England, questioned earlier this week if Foden could play in centre midfield, claiming that he does not play there for his club.

Pep Guardiola and Phil Foden

The 23-year-old has played in a range of other midfield and attack positions, however Guardiola has most frequently utilised Foden at wide midfield.

Guardiola remarked, "[Southgate] knows I know Phil can play in different situations.

When asked about Foden playing centrally during England's 1-1 draw with Ukraine, Southgate responded, "He doesn't for his club, so obviously there's a reason for that.

The best coach in the world, Pep, who plays him from a wide angle, must be consulted. If we play him wide, he can drift at any time, which is crucial.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, a right back for Liverpool, has been used by Southgate as a midfielder, and James Maddison, a central midfielder for Tottenham, has alternately played on the left of a front three against Ukraine.

Foden had a more important role for City against Newcastle last month because Kevin de Bruyne was injured, and he put on a man-of-the-match display by setting up the game's lone goal.

Foden reaffirmed his intention to play central midfield more frequently this season and in the future after the game, claiming that he did so while progressing through the City academy.

Guardiola remarked, "I have an unbelievable relationship with Gareth." Although it may appear that I disagree with him, I totally concur that playing outside requires a different role.

But he is aware of the fact that Phil can play in the pocket, outside right or left, in the midfield, and all positions up front.

When playing central midfield, Southgate did admit that "there's a lot of detail without the ball."

"You're playing opponents who are so clever with their passing and movement in games like the one at the weekend [against Ukraine], you really have to be spot on with pressing angles, your responsibilities," he remarked.

After recovering from back surgery, Guardiola said in his first press conference: "Gareth has said that, in the pocket you have another responsibilities, especially without the ball.

"There are moments when you have to be extremely intelligent to read every situation. Phil has a huge advantage since he can easily play all five positions up front, which is crucial.

"I watched the friendly match [on Tuesday] against Scotland. He initially played on the right then switched to the inside. People move. Although it's not a significant deal, the defensive duties are reduced when he plays high up the pitch.

But Phil will adapt to that as he gets older and has the mindset to excel. He has the mindset to continually learn and pay attention. It greatly benefits us.

Foden stated his desire to be among the best players in the Premier League this year in an interview for this Saturday's Football Focus.

Guardiola responded when asked about Foden's goal, "We cannot be one of the greatest if your mentality isn't wanting to be one of the best.

"When you have a goal to reach, everything starts with that belief, so it's crucial."

Watch the entire Football Focus interview with Phil Foden from 12:00 BST on Saturday, September 16, on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.