In Focus: Fantastic Foden flying under Guardiola's guidance
Phil Foden has been in sublime form this season — but is he ready to become one of Manchester City's main men?
The England star has been growing in importance to the Citizens since his first-team debut in 2017-18, making 45 appearances across all competitions last term.
He has started all six of City's Premier League games this time around too, cementing a starting spot amid competition from Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish.
As Pep Guardiola's men prepare to face Wolves this afternoon, we take a look at Foden's explosive start to campaign.
A central future
Despite playing in midfield during his academy days, Foden has often been deployed out wide or even as a false nine for the Citizens.
Towards the end of last season, Guardiola insisted that the 22-year-old would eventually develop into a more central player for the senior side, although he has remained on the wings so far this campaign.
The Catalan coach said: "He [Foden] can play in all five positions up front — winger on both sides, striker through the middle and in the pockets like an attacking midfielder.
"I think, in time, he will be more capable to play in positions in the middle. He still has all the actions, the high speed, so maybe now the wide positions suit him better.
"In the academy, when I started to see him at 16, 17 years old when I arrived here, he played in a position like Kevin [De Bruyne] and wow, he played really good but all the actions are so, so quick.
"You remember David Silva, sometimes he slowed the rhythm to increase the rhythm, [but Phil's] rhythm is always high.
"It's good as he is so aggressive and we need it but sometimes he needs [to slow down] a little bit, but that is a question of time. He can do it no problem, it's just a question of time."
One advantage of playing Foden in more advanced areas is that he is able to threaten the opposition's goal more frequently.
His eight shots on target, 72.73% shooting accuracy and 2.63 expected goals on target all rank second in the City squad across all competitions, painting a picture of a clinical attacker who can reliably test the goalkeeper with high-quality efforts.
The Englishman's reward has been two goals thus far, scored against Bournemouth and Sevilla.
Given the Stockport native's underlying numbers, it is entirely possible that he will hit double figures in the Premier League for the first time — and perhaps even break the 20-goal barrier in all competitions for the first time as well.
Foden is not purely a goalscorer, however.
He has recorded two assists in 2022-23 — Kevin De Bruyne is the only City player with more — and is constantly looking to create opportunities in a variety of ways.
The 16-cap international ranks second in the City squad across all competitions for crosses attempted (29) and completed (12), as well as for through-balls completed (two).
These impressive numbers for both types of passes demonstrate the qualities that enable him to be so versatile — firing in accurate deliveries from out wide and picking out pinpoint passes in behind from deeper central areas.
Foden's numerous attacking qualities do not end with his productivity in the final third.
It is also his willingness to dribble and run at opponents that makes him such a dangerous opponent.
Among City players, only Joao Cancelo has attempted more take-ons in all competitions than Foden's 17, though their No47's record of five completed suggests he is still learning to pick his battles in this regard.
It is a well-known fact that Guardiola does not view high-quality attacking production as an excuse to shirk defensive duties — Lionel Messi excluded, perhaps.
Foden is expected to work hard without the ball as well as with it and in this area, he excels.
He leads City players in all competitions for possessions won in the attacking third (six) and ranks third for total tackles (nine).
At just 22 years old, Foden sits among the best players in a star-studded City squad across a number of significant metrics.
It looks as though he may finally be ready to become one of Guardiola's key figures.