Phil Foden was an 11-year-old fan behind the goal when Sergio Aguero scored the most iconic goal in Premier League history. And he never dreamed that, just over ten years on, he would be taking part in a last-day drama that almost matched those incredible scenes.
Foden won his fourth Premier League winner’s medal – and ninth major title overall – just six days ahead of his 22nd birthday. That means he, and several teammates, are already within three more triumphs of catching up Aguero and Fernandinho, whose 12 trophies each make them the most decorated players in the club’s history.
Foden has revealed in the past how he and his mum ended up spilling onto the pitch when Aguero scored his late, late winner against QPR to pip Manchester United for the title at the death. This time he was scrambling for the safety of the tunnel as fans poured on in celebration of yet another astonishing turnaround.
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And he was in no doubt that he had just taken part in another huge moment in the club’s history, saying: “It has got to be up there. The way we came back, to score three goals as well. It has definitely got to be up there with Sergio’s moment.
“We definitely do not make it easy for ourselves do we ?! To go two goals behind was very disappointing, but the character we showed to come back shows how far we have come as a team and how special we are. ”
City were trailing to goals from Villa pair Matty Cash and Philippe Coutinho, and with Liverpool on their way to their own comeback win after conceding an early goal at home to Wolves, needed three goals to secure the crown, with 20 minutes left.
Manager Pep Guardiola had thrown on Aleks Zinchenko at half time to shuffle his defense and give City more attacking impetus, and he then brought on Ilkay Gundogan and Raheem Sterling to freshen things up in the final third.
The substitutions worked a treat as Sterling and Gundogan combined fir the first goal, Zinchenko teed up Rodri for the second and then Gundogan popped up at the far post for the third.
Said Foden: “Gundo came on and he was definitely the game changer. We are lucky to have a player like that who can come on and change the game. ”
The late win meant City finished just a point ahead of rivals Liverpool after another breathless season in which Jurgen Klopp’s team came within an ace of overhauling the Blues, eventually finishing a point behind. Foden believes the close nature of this title race, and the lessons learned from it, will stand the Blues in good stead in future.
“It’s so demanding, but we enjoy it because we know every game is going to be a challenge,” he said. “We are going to look back on this moment in years to come and say we came a long way today, definitely.”
Foden has progressed to the point where he is now one of the first names on Guardiola’s teamsheet, and a central figure for England boss Gareth Southgate. And he credits the City boss with finessing his game to the point that he was a shoo-in for the Premier League Young Player of the Year this season.
“Honestly, I’m so lucky to have him,” said Foden of his manager. “Since the first day I came here to train with him he has brought me on leaps and bounds. I am so happy that he is the manager and I want to keep learning. ”
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