‘Foden drives me crazy: elegant and with immense quality’: Top Italian youth coach backs City youngster to be a ‘champion’ under master-manager Pep Guardiola – and insists his old protege Moise Kean will thrive at Everton
- Luigi Di Biagio coached the Italy under-21 team until earlier this year
- Former Roma and Inter Milan player has helped nurture plenty of young talent
- Di Biagio believes England has the correct formula for bringing players through
- He has backed Phil Foden to flourish under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City
Former Italy under-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio believes Manchester City‘s Phil Foden has everything it takes to be a ‘champion’ and will thrive under Pep Guardiola‘s tutelage.
Midfielder Foden, 19, is regarded as the most gifted of the current generation of emerging English talent, even though he finds game time at City hard to come by.
He helped England to glory at the Under-17 World Cup in 2017 and already has two Premier League winners medals with his club.
Former Italy under-21 coach Luigi Di Biagio has praised England’s approach to young players
Di Biagio has backed Manchester City starlet Phil Foden to become a ‘champion’ of a player
Di Biagio believes City boss Pep Guardiola is the perfect mentor for the talented Foden
Di Biagio, who played for Roma, Inter Milan and Italy during his playing career before moving into coaching, admires the English approach to bringing through young players.
‘I would have like to have had Foden,’ Di Biagio told Sportsmail. ‘He will be a champion but he must be protected.
‘Guardiola is No 1 in the management of young players, leaving them free to express themselves on the pitch without any particular tasks.
‘He will be a star for England but we must avoid exalting the young too much.
‘Understanding is needed but I assure you that Foden drives me crazy. He is elegant and has immense quality.’
The former Roma and Inter Milan player turned youth coach is an admirer of English methods
Di Biagio came up against Gareth Southgate’s England when interim Italy boss last year
Foden is already an England under-21 international and it is surely a matter of time before he follows the likes of Jadon Sancho, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham into Gareth Southgate’s first-team squad.
And Di Biagio believes Southgate and the England youth coaches are correct to put their faith in youth.
‘England has the best young players around,’ he says. ‘In England, a 23-year-old boy is already considered a man but he is still young with us.
‘I love the British mentality. I have faced the English youth teams several times and say they are talented.
Mason Mount has been in impressive form after being given a first team chance at Chelsea
Tammy Abraham has enjoyed a free-scoring start to the season after being played at Chelsea
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