Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola wants Phil Foden to continue playing his own way and not try to emulate Kevin De Bruyne.
The Citizens will be without De Bruyne for a couple of weeks due to injury. Losing a player of such creative ability will always hurt a team but Foden has stepped up.
The 20-year-old scored his ninth goal of the season in all competitions when netting against Cheltenham on Saturday. His 81st-minute strike levelled the FA Cup tie before Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres gave the visitors a 3-1 triumph.
Foden is now City’s top scorer this term, with four of those coming in the top flight. The Premier League side struggled to break down the Robins without De Bruyne in the line-up.
But they are now in the hat for round five thanks to Foden’s goal getting things started.
The Premier League title race is a tight affair, with City two points adrift of table-topping Manchester United. It is therefore a bad time to lose the Belgium ace.
However, Guardiola feels he has the squad to cope and urged Foden to keep writing his own scripts.
“We have the players – Phil has to be Phil and not be Kevin De Bruyne because there is only one Kevin De Bruyne,” he said. “He needs to keep doing what he has being doing in terms of when we are in a bad moment or when we are losing in terms of what he gave to the game.
“Phil is in a great moment and with great confidence. He is clinical in front of goal.”
Guardiola relieved with Cheltenham scalp
League two Cheltenham were just nine minutes from pulling off one of the biggest FA Cup shocks of all time. Following a goalless first half, Alfie May gave them a 1-0 advantage on 59 minutes.
It seemed as though they might hold on before Foden’s intervention opened the floodgates. Despite the obvious disparity between the sides’, Guardiola was worried about being the next victim of a giant killing.
“Of course,” he said after the match. “But like the Newport game two years ago, we worked, suffered, tried different systems and were there at the end and our quality was the difference.
“But a big complement to our opponents and I said that to Michael [Duff]. They have a fantastic team who defend so compact and they fight as one.”
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