Pep Guardiola has insisted that Phil Foden retains all his confidence and has opted for the ‘diamond’ of Manchester City to recover his best form.
Beside himself Foden has started only a third of city games since the World Cup, amid troubles with an ankle injury.
Guardiola revealed that the 22-year-old has taken time off to recover from the problem and is focused on regaining a place in City’s starting line-up.
“He made an incredible effort, playing through the pain, and there came a time when he said ‘Pep, I can’t take it anymore’, so he had to rest,” Guardiola said.
We gave him a week or two off, and after that Riyad Mahrez was in his prime of the season and Jack Grealish stepped up.
‘If you’re saying I don’t trust Phil, forget it. Phil is our diamond. He needs to be himself. I saw other players better than him sometimes after the World Cup.”
Guardiola previously predicted a downturn for the England international, who impressed during last weekend’s draw at Nottingham Forest before remaining an unused substitute against RB Leipzig on Wednesday.
The city boss added: “I tell him: ‘You are so young, the next season is new. If you go down a bit this season, it is an absolutely normal process.’ How you handle it is the question.
He is training like an animal, there is no doubt about that, and he will return, as he was in Nottingham, where he was brilliant, perfect. He just has to continue.
City, who travel to Bournemouth on Saturday for their fourth successive away game, are hoping Kevin De Bruyne will turn up after illness.
“Our fatigue is there, but we have to get energy from somewhere,” Guardiola said. I don’t know where, but we have to.