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Rio Ferdinand hails ‘mesmeric’ Phil Foden after Man City star’s cameo against Atletico Madrid

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The Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Etihad was incredibly tight, as the Spanish came to sit back and frustrate their opponents from the very first whistle.

When Foden was introduced after 68 minutes, it was still goalless. City had the lead 80 seconds later.

Foden picked up the ball, drew four defenders and then slid a perfect pass through to Kevin De Bruyne who did the rest, as Atletico’s previously impenetrable backline was opened up.

“When you have an artist like Phil Foden posing a different threat, it is difficult to adjust to during the game when you have planned for something different,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.

“Foden was mesmeric at times.

“Pep is planning two or three games ahead and probably already knows his team (for Sunday against Liverpool).

“If he was not thinking about playing Foden at the weekend, he might have changed that now.”

Fellow pundit Joleon Lescott was similarly glowing in his assement of Foden and believes the 21-year-old has what it takes to go down as an all-time great.

“Phil Foden is associated with Man City and I know what it means for him to play for the club,” Lescott said.

“If he continues at this rate, he goes down as the best English player of all time with two trophies a season.

“His mentality sets him apart. If you compare him with someone like Wayne Rooney, you can see players who are hurt when they don’t win. He is obsessed, I love what I do but he needs to do it.

“We had to remove the balls from the hotel because you could not get him off the training ground as he wants to improve all the time.”

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