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Foden masterclass inspires Man City

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[BBC]

Phil Foden showed exactly why Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola felt comfortable leaving star duo Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland on the bench by producing a virtuoso performance in Wednesday's win against Aston Villa.

Foden stepped up in their absence to score his second hat-trick of the season in the 4-1 victory, taking this season's personal tally to 21, the best of his career and an accurate measure of his ability as a scorer as well as a creator of goals.

He was at the heart of a City display that was far more fluent than their blunt effort in the goalless draw against Arsenal at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The 23-year-old was the central figure as Villa, themselves chasing a place in the Premier League's top four, were overpowered by a vastly improved performance from the reigning champions.

Foden was operating in the number 10 role, where he is less likely to be utilised for England given the presence of Jude Bellingham, but his sheer quality and "X-factor" means he must be a starter for Gareth Southgate at Euro 2024 in Germany.

Read more from Phil McNulty on Foden's super show