Pep Guardiola must follow Gareth Southgate’s backing of England midfielder Phil Foden by starting the 20-year-old against Wolverhampton Wanderers in Manchester City’s Premier League curtain-raiser.
Guardiola will guide the Citizens into Molineux next weekend looking to start the campaign on the right foot, as we strive to regain the Premier League title from Liverpool after last season’s horror saw the Anfield natives clinch the crown by 18 points.
The boss will be looking for his third English top-flight crown without the influential David Silva for the first time when we line up against Wolves on Monday 21, after the Spaniard joined Real Sociedad in a free transfer after the expiration of his Sky Blues contract.
Silva opened 22 of his 27 Premier League outings last season and has left big shoes to fill, having also captained the side in all bar five of his top-flight appearances, provided 10 assists and also scoring six goals – only Kevin de Bruyne (20) and Riyad Mahrez (12) created more strikes for us.
In search of a solution, Guardiola ought to turn to Foden and award the Stockport-born creator what would only be his 13th start in the Premier League after he opened his first senior England international on Saturday against Iceland whilst making his Three Lions debut.
Should Foden start vs Wolves in David Silva's old role?
Foden offered City five goals and two assists in the Premier League last season over his 23 outings, of which nine were starts, including lashing home against Arsenal, Burnley, Liverpool and Watford after the restart.
He also earned six of his starts after the restart, whilst recording a pass completion rate of at least 80% in each post-restart appearance, plus seven shots against Watford and two key balls versus Burnley, Brighton, Bournemouth and Norwich, per WhoScored.
Now is the time to see if Foden is ready to become a firm fixture of our starting line-up, and see if he has finally turned his potential into proven talent that will connect all aspects of the side on route to clinching silverware.
If Guardiola does not feel it is time to favour Foden, despite Silva’s presence no longer being at the Etihad, then question marks will have to arise over the £36million-rated midfielder’s long-term future.