By Jack Gaughan for the Daily Mail
Published: 18:38 GMT, 1 March 2020 | Updated: 18:54 GMT, 1 March 2020
Around the City Football Academy, they say Phil Foden absorbs instructions like very few others. That, among myriad other outstanding qualities, gives him an advantage in his quest to become one of this country’s finest footballers.
‘When you tell Phil something, it sticks,’ one club source said. In this case, there is no need to take their word – the evidence arrived early on at Wembley in his first-ever major cup final.
Four minutes elapsed between Pep Guardiola’s subtle note to stay wider, to not drift infield, and Manchester City’s opening goal. Foden heeded the order, ghosting out on the right, waiting patiently for Rodri’s clip. His header to Sergio Aguero resulted in the striker prodding City ahead.
Phil Foden assisted Sergio Aguero for Man City's opening goal in 2-1 Carabao Cup final win
Foden's driving runs from the right wing and jinking hips gave Villa's defence problems
The midfielder displayed temperament and decision making beyond his years at Wembley
The cushion to Aguero offered intelligence betraying his tender years, nodding backwards to City’s greatest goalscorer. Many others, particularly those still in their teens, would have played the percentages across goal. But then again, he is not like many others.
It is why Guardiola is given such a hard time for a lack of starts. The 19-year-old would walk into the vast majority of Premier League