SHAUN WRIGHT-PHILLIPS reckons that Phil Foden can become the most decorated English player of all time.
England whizkid Foden has had another unforgettable week in what is shaping up to be a sensational season for him.
Phil Foden’s strike vs Dortmund helped send Man City into the Champions League semi-finalCredit: EPA
And he heads to Wembley today looking to make it even more memorable.
Wright-Phillips was once in his shoes — a teenage prodigy for Manchester City, loved by the fans after working his way up from the youth team.
And he can only see a glittering career ahead for his old club’s current pride and joy.
Foden has made a pretty decent start considering he does not turn 21 until May 28 — the day before the Champions League final in Istanbul, by the way.
He has already won the Premier League twice and FA Cup once, as well as lifting the Carabao Cup three times and the Community Shield on two occasions.
The way things are going, he will swell his impressive medal collection quite considerably over the next six weeks or so.
And he can take a big step towards another FA Cup success by helping City overcome another of SWP’s old clubs Chelsea in tonight’s semi-final.
He still has a long way to go to match the haul of certain English legends, though.
Foden already has eight pieces of silverware at Man CityCredit: PA:Empics Sport
Liverpool defender Phil Neal won the European Cup four times along with eight Division One titles in his hugely-successful career at Anfield.
More recently, United’s Paul Scholes collected a whopping 11 Premier League medals to go with two Champions League gongs and a host of cups.
But Wright-Phillips told SunSport: “I really believe Phil Foden could go on and become the most decorated player in English football history.
“He’s got a good number of medals already and you can only see him winning a lot more the way things are at City.
“Everything is set up for the club, the manager and him in the years ahead.”
Stockport-born Foden grew up watching City and had days as a ballboy and mascot at the Etihad when he was a lad.
And SWP, who enjoyed a special rapport with the fans in his day, believes his love of the club shows when he plays. There were emotional scenes as Foden scored against Borussia Dortmund in midweek to finally break Pep Guardiola’s Champions League hoodoo with City and book a semi-final spot.
Wright-Phillips said: “When he celebrates a goal you can see how much it means to him to be scoring for the club he’s always supported.
Pep Guardiola was patient with Foden… now he’s getting his rewardsCredit: AP
Shaun Wright-Phillips also came through the youth ranks at Man CityCredit: Getty Images – Getty
“He wears his heart on his sleeve and his passion for City really comes through.
“And I’m delighted for City’s fans too that they’ve got a player like him who loves the club because he has come through the ranks.
“A lot of people thought he should have gone on loan to get some first-team experience but he’s stuck at it — and now the rewards are coming.
“He’s been around the club and the squad for a long time now, even though he does not turn 21 until next month.
“Playing alongside the likes of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne has obviously benefited him too. You can see it has enhanced his game.”
At just 5ft 6in, Foden is a good inch taller than SWP — but the 39-year-old is delighted to see him strike a blow for the little guys.
Wright-Phillips added: “He shows it’s not all about being big and strong. All-round players like him don’t need to be, which is something I can relate to!
“He has everything that the top midfielders need. He’s got pace and the vision to see what is going on around him.
Paul Scholes is England’s most decorated player of all time
“He’s got a wand of a left foot. There’s so much to his game.”
Wright-Phillips won the Premier League and FA Cup with Chelsea and was part of the City squad which lifted the Cup a decade ago to end a 35- year wait for a major trophy.
Yet so much has happened in the last ten years and Foden is part of a very different club to the one SWP left — one which is geared up to win silverware every season.
Asked if he feels envious, Wright-Phillips said: “No. I personally just look at him and feel happy for him. And of course happy for City that they’ve got him.
“I’ll never forget the way they were with me and I’m sure when supporters are back in the stadiums they will let Phil know how much they are enjoying him.”
And Wright-Phillips admits he would love to see another young player with City connections doing the business in a sky-blue shirt.
He was a team-mate of Alf-Inge Haaland, whose son Erling played against the club in the Champions League this week.
The Norwegian, 20, is one of the hottest properties in European football and rated at a whopping £154million.
And if money was no object, he would be the striker Wright-Phillips would go for to replace 32-year-old Sergio Aguero.
He said: “If it was me in charge and I could have anyone, then I’d love to see Erling Haaland in a City shirt.
“I just think about all the goals he’d score if he was to join.
“I played with his dad Alfie during his time at City.
“I don’t remember him ever bringing his lad into training — but perhaps I’ll have a word.”
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