Attempting to solve the riddle that is the Phil Foden conundrum

3 mins read


Few players will have caused Dream Team gaffers as many headaches as Phil Foden (£3.8m) this season.

The 20-year-old is a precocious talent who would probably be one of the first names on the team sheet at the majority of Premier League clubs.

But since he’s a Man City lad, he must abide by Pep Guardiola’s rotation policy.


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The trophy-laden tactician is turning to Foden more frequently these days but is still managing his workload to some degree.

The Stockport Iniesta (it’s still unclear how ironic that nickname is supposed to be) has started five league games in 2020/21, playing 504 minutes in total.

While Kevin De Bruyne (£6.5m) has started 11 league games and racked up 1,012 minutes.

And yet Foden has 77 Dream Team points to the Belgian’s 76.

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One of the reasons for this is that players score points in both domestic cups and European competition, as well as the bread and butter of the Premier League.

Foden has flourished in the Champions League and the EFL Cup, most recently with a 15-point Star Man turn against Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the latter.

His performance at the Emirates makes him the third-best midfielder in Dream Team this season, with only Bruno Fernandes (£5.6m) and Jack Grealish (£4.6m) boasting more points at this stage.

What to do?

And here we come to the Foden conundrum.

He is literally in the best possible Dream Team XI of the season despite only starting five Premier League games.

Instinctively, bosses will drift away from players who spend as much time on the bench as Foden has done this campaign.

The assumption being: only those who are on the pitch the vast majority of the time will rank highly for points.

Foden is busting that long-held belief this season.

Those of you brave enough to stick by the youngster – 13.5% of gaffers at the time of writing – have been rewarded.

But ask yourself: how likely is it that Foden will continue to outscore De Bruyne and the other midfielders in the top ten while playing half the number of minutes?


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