Dinamo Zagreb vs Manchester City - Foden can replace Silva at Manchester City – Guardiola

Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2019 by PA

Dinamo Zagreb vs Manchester City - Foden can replace Silva at Manchester City – Guardiola

Pep Guardiola is confident Phil Foden can fill the boots of David Silva at Manchester City.

Foden, 19, is set for a rare start as City wrap up their Champions League Group C campaign against Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia.

Veteran playmaker Silva has not travelled due to injury but, as he has already announced he is to leave the club at the end of the season, it could be a foretaste of the future.

Foden has long been earmarked as the natural successor to Silva but he has had to wait patiently for his opportunities so far.

City boss Guardiola said: “That is our wish (that he can replace Silva). Of course David is a legend, with the amount of games and titles he has won, but it’s our wish and we believe he can do it.

“He’s growing from last season. There are still some departments he can improve. Sometimes he takes decisions with character and spirit because he is so young, but sometimes he has to think a bit more about decision-making, especially without the ball.

“But it’s normal with his age. His development is perfect. We are more than satisfied with what he is doing with his training and when he plays.”

City have nothing riding on the game in Croatia having already secured top spot in the group and their place in the last 16.

Defender Eric Garcia, 18, is another youngster set to be given an opportunity. City’s problems at centre-back have continued with John Stones suffering a hamstring injury in the loss to Manchester United on Saturday and he is facing a spell out. Fernandinho is also suspended for the Dinamo clash.

Guardiola said: “The two young players are here but all the (rest of the) squad are here and we are going to put a better squad than fans were thinking.

“We are already qualified and the Premier League is more important than the Champions League right now, and we’ll make some changes, but we will try to make a good result.”

Dinamo Zagreb coach Nenad Bjelica has promised his side will go all out for victory in a bid to reach the last 16.

The Croatian champions must win at the Maksimir Stadium to have any hope of making the knockout stages.

Bjelica told his pre-match press conference: “Tomorrow’s game we have to win. That is our only aim.

“It will be much easier to play in front of our fans and we are sure it will be a full stadium. It will be easier to be more offensive that way and we have to surprise our opponents tomorrow.

“They’re really strong, one of the best teams in the world, so we have to play a really good game to win.”

The hosts have defensive issues. Former Cardiff player Kevin Theophile-Catherine and Dino Peric are out through suspension, Marin Leovac is injured and Emir Dilaver is doubtful due to illness.

Dinamo started the group well with a 4-0 win over Atalanta but have since picked up only two points with two draws against Shakhtar Donetsk.

They are a point behind Shakhtar but, with Atalanta only a point behind them, a number of permutations are possible. Dinamo could go through, drop into the Europa League or miss out altogether.

Bjelica says his side have put their damaging loss to Atalanta last time out behind them.

He said: “We already forgot about it. We even forgot about Varazdin and that was only three days ago.

“We don’t think about what happened one month ago. We are completely focused on this game. We have to try to win. We know they are really strong.”



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