Phil Foden’s (£4.6m) season came to a strange halt a few weeks ago.
Man City’s homegrown starlet came down with illness at some stage, something that has affected a few Etihad residents this term, but his playing time was also reduced because of the form of his team-mates.
Jack Grealish (£4.1m) has been in Pep Guardiola’s good books of late and Riyad Mahrez (£6m) has justified his regular starts with plenty of goal involvements too.
Foden is more than capable of playing in midfield but in recent years he’s generally been deployed in the front three and with the false nine era having been ended by Erling Haaland’s (£8.9m) arrival at Eastlands, he’s had to wait his turn.
The England international was given the full 90 minutes to strut his stuff against Bournemouth on Saturday for the first time since City’s 2-0 defeat to Southampton in the Carabao Cup back in mid-January.
And boy did he take his opportunity.
Micah Richards described Foden’s display at the Vitality Stadium as a “10/10 performance” on Match of the Day and while Dream Team’s ratings providers, WhoScored, were slightly less forthcoming (9/10) they agreed that City’s No47 was the best player on the pitch.
Foden was great value for the Star Man award having created the most chances, registered the most touches in the opposition’s box and completed the most passes in the final third.
Most importantly, he scored one of City’s four goals and assisted another.
According to WhoScored, Foden’s exhibition on the south coast was his second-best of the campaign so far – his hat-trick in the Manchester derby back in October earned him a 10/10 rating.
In Dream Team terms, Foden banked 15 points when all was said and done, his first double-digit haul since Game Week 17.
The points would have come as a great relief to the 17% of Dream Team bosses currently backing the midfielder, who remains the fifth-most popular asset in his position despite a dip in returns recently.
Presumably, Saturday’s performance would have put an end to Foden’s mini exile.
With 114 points in total, he’s the fifth-best midfielder, five points ahead of Martin Odegaard (£3.4m) – Arsenal’s captain is over twice as popular.
Foden has scored ten goals and been credited with six assists at club level in 2022/23 – which boils down to a goal involvement every 109 minutes.
As has been established for a while now, he’s a top-tier Dream Team asset when fit and selected… but Guardiola is a cruel taskmaster at times.