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CLASSIC PEP

Of course Pep Guardiola is playing Phil Foden at left wing-back in the Champions League

The 17-year-old English wonderkid was handed a start in the Champions League against Shakhtar Donetsk... but not in his usual position

Never underestimate Pep Guardiola’s surrealist view of the full-back position.

Throughout his managerial career, he has forced midfielder after midfielder to try their hand in defence, often with surprisingly effective results.

David Alaba became arguably the world’s best left-back under Guardiola’s instruction, while this season we’ve seen Fabian Delph deputise for the injured Benjamin Mendy.

But tonight Man City’s gaffer took things to another level.

One of the lads

REUTERS
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One of the lads

17-year-old Phil Foden was handed a debut in the Champions League away to Shakhtar Donetsk… but he was made to play at left wing-back.

The Under-17 World Cup-winning wonderkid is a creative midfielder by trade who made his name by causing opposition defenders problems in the final third.

However, Guardiola clearly feels he has what it takes to be the next Roberto Carlos; for one game at least.

While most City fans will have loved their much-hyped starlet’s inclusion in the starting line-up, many would have preferred to see him in his natural position.

Foden looked comfortable in possession in the game’s opening exchanges, one throughball to Gabriel Jesus in particular demonstrated his talents as a playmaker.

However, from a defensive point of view, Shakhtar did have some success attacking down the right — though you can hardly blame the young lad, he can’t have played many minutes as a wing-back.

Remember the name

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Remember the name

An unenthused City side went made to pay for their lackadaisical approach to the first half as the hosts went into the break two goals to the good in Ukraine.

Bernard curled in a beautiful finish for the first before a rare mistake from Ederson allowed Ismaily a simple tap-in.

City’s Brazilian keeper came sprinting out of his area and got to the ball before his compatriot but failed to clear the danger.

Bit Claudio Bravo, wasn’t it?

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Bit Claudio Bravo, wasn’t it?

City are already guaranteed to finish top of Group F and so their fans won’t mind too much, although it’s somewhat of a morale sapper heading into the derby against Man United at the weekend.

Now, let’s have a look at Foden playing No10, shall we?