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Foden can get his Phil with De Bruyne pulling the strings for City
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Mitchell Fretton
Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden were both in action against Huddersfield last Sunday
Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden were both in action against Huddersfield last Sunday

Kevin De Bruyne's return to full fitness gives a huge boost to Manchester City's ambitions to secure a fourth consecutive Premier League title.

The Treble winners sit five points behind leaders Liverpool but can cut the gap to two when they travel to Newcastle on Saturday evening.

De Bruyne missed 32 games during his spell on the sidelines with a hamstring problem and showed his class on his return, popping up with an assist in the 5-0 FA Cup win over Huddersfield last Sunday.

As City prepare for the trip to St James' Park, we take a look at how team-mate Phil Foden can benefit from the Belgian's impact.

Prolific partners

Between them, Foden and De Bruyne have a combined 167 goals and 203 assists for City and both are five-time Premier League winners.

Foden's development and quick passage to the first team under Pep Guardiola has been aided by the brilliance of De Bruyne, who is seen by many as one of the greatest midfielders in the modern era.

Against Huddersfield, Foden starred in a central role and bagged a brace, working in harmony with the returning 32-year-old when he was introduced off the bench in the 57th minute.

Academy graduate Foden, 23, struck nine times in De Bruyne's absence but could be shunted into a wider position in the coming weeks.

That is not to say the move will hinder the No47's impact in Manchester.

The 2022-23 campaign saw him score 13 of his 15 goals in all competitions from wide areas and the 31-cap England international is capable of delivering quality from any position in the final third.

Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden have thrived under Pep Guardiola
Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden have thrived under Pep Guardiola

Back in blue

Although City have one of the best squads in the world, there is no denying they look less threatening without De Bruyne.

Foden was just as excited as the Etihad faithful were to see his midfield partner return in the FA Cup and believes his role will be crucial in the second half of the season.

He said: "Everyone was buzzing to have him back. If we're going to win anything, we need him at it. 

"He's one of the best players in the world, no one can do what he does.

"You could see the stadium roaring when he came on and it just shows how big and important he is for us. To have him back on the field, it gives us a lift as well."

The perfect connection

De Bruyne will be hoping to pick up his stellar form from last season and Foden's quality provides the perfect complement to his talents.

The ex-Chelsea playmaker is renowned for his incredible passing range and with Ilkay Gundogan's departure last summer to Barcelona leaving a hole in midfield alongside Rodri, he could slot into a deeper role next to the Spanish anchor.

Foden's speed and dribbling abilities would be better suited in the middle of the pitch, meanwhile De Bruyne can continue to link play and provide for both his English colleague and the formidable Erling Haaland.

City tend to pick things up in the second half of the season and if they can unleash their fully fit captain behind Foden, there may be no stopping the world champions.


Manchester CityPremier LeagueKevin de BruynePhil Foden
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