PHIL FODEN hailed David Silva as the biggest inspiration in his fledgling career as he begins the tough task of stepping into the Spanish superstar’s shoes.
Foden has long been mentioned as the long-term successor to Silva, who brought his ten-year spell at Manchester City to an end last month, returning to Spain with Real Sociedad.
The 20-year-old was named in the senior England squad for the first time this week ahead of matches against Iceland tomorrow and Denmark on Tuesday in the Nations League.
He has the opportunity to make his full international debut before getting stuck into what he hopes will be a season where he gets more game time at the Etihad Stadium after waiting patiently for his chance.
Asked who had been the player he loved to watch coming through, Foden replied: ‘Probably David Silva. I liked him ever since he came to the club, I got to watch him live in training! He’s probably the player I looked up to the most and tried to learn from.
‘I’m just sad that he’s gone now but hopefully he’ll be back as a coach or something one day.’ Foden explained the effect Silva had on him as he was coming into the first team at his club and what he had taken from the 35-year-old’s game.
‘Just what he sees; he sees the game differently to other players, how he moves into space in tight areas, how he receives the ball and never loses it, I’ve learnt so much from him,’ Foden said.
Asked if he could make Silva’s old spot his own, Foden added: ‘I’m hoping so but there are a lot of midfielders still and a lot of quality in the team. I won’t just get that position easy. It depends on me and whether I’m playing well enough.’
Foden has been considered a future Three Lions regular long before he has even nailed down a place in the City side.
He attributes that to the trust England boss Gareth Southgate puts in the country’s youngsters.
‘We’ve got a great coach in Gareth [Southgate] who gives the kids a chance if they’re playing good enough and he’s not afraid to throw you in,’ he said.
‘For the Under-21s, the step is there, it’s not far off.’