“Pep was very keen on him” – Man City midfielder reveals the player Guardiola focussed on in training

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has sat down with Goal to discuss a variety of topics, including Phil Foden, his life at City and a potential management career. 

The German has been the standout performer for a City side who have won their last 16 games in all competitions. But it hasn’t always been plain sailing for Gundogan, who had a tough start to life at the club.

“I was injured at first but then I joined a team that you thought had been playing Pep football for years,” Gundogan began. “The speed with which he can communicate his football tactically to the team is impressive. That was also the case at Bayern back then.”

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(Photo by SHAUN BOTTERILL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“At the same time, it’s also this season, because he still acts with such motivation in every training session. There was always talk that Pep was only a coach for a maximum of three years – at the moment we see that these critics were wrong.”

He was high in his praise for Pep Guardiola throughout, and the 30-year-old was actually the manager’s first signing in Manchester. Gundogan has taken inspiration from his Catalan boss and started his coaching badges:

“Some time ago, I asked for information on how the procedure would work if I were to take a trainer’s licence. In that sense, it’s more than just a thought. But how I would like to orient myself then, my thoughts are not yet that far.”

“The fact is that with Pep, Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, I’ve had pretty much the best coaches in club football so far. You learn a lot and think about how you can pass on this knowledge after your career.”

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(Photo by DENIS LOVROVIC/AFP via Getty Images)

Phil Foden is another player who has really found his groove this season; and Gundogan says, despite some criticism, Guardiola has handled him perfectly:

“There was some criticism from different directions for Pep’s handling of Phil Foden. Pep publicly emphasised his qualities very early on but his game time was still relatively small. This season, however, we see that this was exactly the right way to go.”

“Pep was very keen on him at all times, especially in training. At the moment, Phil is playing an extremely important role in the team. He was one of our best players against Liverpool. He is getting better and better.”

“Pep has brought him in slowly and carefully and has not let other views influence him. At the moment, we are all happy in the team to have such a top European talent in our ranks.”

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