Guardiola backs ‘versatile’ Foden to enjoy long spell at City

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hailed Phil Foden as “exceptional” and said the club would like him to stay on for years, with the England international reportedly close to signing a new contract at the Premier League champions.

The 22-year-old, who netted his first hat-trick for City in the 6-3 demolition of neighbours Manchester United on Sunday, has emerged as a key player in midfield over the last two campaigns.

“Exceptional player, grew up a lot. He’s reliable, his physical condition, so intense and clever in everything,” Guardiola said on Tuesday adding that Foden’s versatility means he can play in as many as five positions.

City can move a step closer to qualifying for the Champions League last 16 with a win over Denmark’s FC Copenhagen on Wednesday, following victories in their opening two Group G games. Manchester City top the group with six points while Copenhagen are third with one from two games.

Guardiola will not take his opponents lightly despite Copenhagen, the Danish champions, languishing in sixth place in the league, forcing them to replace manager Jess Thorup with Jacob Neestrup last month.

Midfielder Rodri, who missed Sunday’s game due to injury, could be in contention but right-back Kyle Walker will not be involved after the Englishman was forced off in the first half against United.

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