Phil Foden is the natural successor to the 32-year-old Spaniard who has been dubbed “one of the club’s greatest ever signings”.
Speaking exclusively to 888sport former City defender Joleon Lescott, who now works with the club’s youngsters sent out on loan, is adamant Foden has the Etihad, and the world, at his feet.
Many expected Foden to burst into the starting XI this season, but Lescott insists it’s crazy to suggest he would walk into a world-class line-up.
He said: “Let’s be realistic about it. Man City have some of the best players in the world in their respective positions so for Phil Foden to break into that team at 17, it’s going to be very difficult.
And possibly one of the greatest signing Man City have ever made is David Silva, and he’s in his position so it’s not going to be easy.”
“If he doesn’t get that many starts until then, then goes straight into the team, it’s great management by the manager and the club.”
Lescott, 36, rejects the idea that it’s a necessity for the England youngster to be sent out on loan when he is already training every day and learning off a world class bunch.
He added: “If he is deemed good enough for Man City, not every team plays the same style. He wouldn’t be able to benefit as much as you might think.”
“But Phil Foden is definitely one for the future and he is here to stay.”
“You have to have the mentality that you are worthy of training with the first-team every day and on top of that you have to have the quality in order to sustain that level of consistency. He’s pretty much making the bench every week, which is a credit to him at 17 at Man City and being able to keep the top stars off the bench is all down to him.”
While the future is bright for Foden, and City who Lescott believes are in pole position to retain their Premier League title, another one of the retired centre-half’s former clubs have also impressed him.
Wolves have made a super start to their first season back in the top flight, sitting in 10th spot with just one loss from their first six games.
This included impressive draws away at both Manchester clubs - and deserved ones too.
And while the likes of Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves continue to earn rave reviews, Lescott wants to make sure one man gets the credit.
“Manager Nuno Espirito Santo is massive, a massive part of what they are trying to achieve,” said Lescott. “I don’t think he will be in any rush to leave anytime soon.”
“I wasn’t one of these people who was surprised or questioned his appointment, but I was hoping it would go well, and it has gone well. Credit to him and the powers that be who saw the qualities he has.”
Lescott started his career at Molineux, spending six years there before moving on to Everton. And it is the Toffees who Lescott feels have not quite got the right fit so far this season - not helped by new signings failing to improve the squad. The defence has been heavily invested in, with £27.23m spent on Yerry Mina, £18.18m on Lucas Digne, and £7.1m spent on Kurt Zouma’s loan fee.
That’s in addition to the near-£30m deal that brought stopper Michael Keane to the club from Burnley the previous summer. But the best defender was there all along according to Lescott.
He continued: “For me, in regards to their defence, their center-half position, Phil Jagielka is still their best center-half for me. They have spent a lot of money in that position in recent years. I’m good friends with Jags and it’s no disrespect, but that shouldn’t be the case at 36 and in recent seasons you’ve spent over £60m on center-halves.”
“Your best one is still at the club. They probably haven’t bought as wise as they should have, but Jags is still the top lad there in my eyes. It’s no disrespect to say that in my eyes, the other players are not as good.”
But despite just one win in their first six games, "Marco Silva needs to be given more time to get things right". Lescott added: “I’m not sure if he is under that pressure. I don’t think he is thinking ‘I need three wins or I will get sacked’."
“In regards to what they would expect as a club, they would expect to win some of the upcoming games, but outside of the top four, who does go and win three games on the road? It’s easy to say on paper, but in reality, it’s difficult.”
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