Where are they now? Foden’s team-mates from his last Man City U23 game
Phil Foden has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past few years.
Having become an integral member of the Manchester City side aged just 21, it’s easy to forget that Foden only played his last Under-23 match in May 2018 – a 5-0 win over Tottenham in which the midfielder scored once and recorded two assists.
But what happened to his former Under-23 team-mates? We’ve taken a look at that Xl to see how they’ve all fared since.
GK: Arijanet Muric
Hopes were high when Muric joined Nottingham Forest on loan for the 2019-20 season.
But the Kosovo goalkeeper quickly fell out of favour at the Championship club, with The Athletic reporting that Muric rarely mixed with the other players and was caught using his phone at half-time. Subsequent loan spells with Girona and Willem II have proven more successful.
City are still convinced that Muric will develop into an excellent goalkeeper and Muric retains the faith of Pep Guardiola.
RB: Cameron Humphreys (Tom Dele-Bashiru, 46)
Humphreys had already played for the first team by the time he lined up against Tottenham but that would prove to be his only senior appearance for City.
The full-back, who appeared in two FA Cup matches in 2016, joined Belgian side Zulte Waregem in the summer of 2019 and spoke to us about his time under Pep Guardiola.
His half-time replacement against Spurs is also no longer a City player. Dele-Bashiru joined Watford on a six-year deal in 2019 and scored on his debut against Tranmere Rovers in an FA Cup tie.
Less happily, he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury on his league debut against Reading in October 2020 and has only returned to fitness recently.
CB: Joel Latibeaudiere
The England team that won the 2017 Under-17 World Cup in India included Foden and Jadon Sancho but the captain was Latibeaudiere.
Sadly, the centre-back has enjoyed less success than his former City teammates. Latibeaudiere moved to Championship side Swansea City in 2020 in order to play more first-team football, and reuniting with his former U17 boss Steve Cooper.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror before facing City in this season’s FA Cup, he said: “It wasn’t tough because I was thinking about my own career and I knew I had to get out really. I wasn’t going to get a chance there, and I knew I had to go and play and make my own way.
“When Swansea came in I was over the moon. I knew some of the staff and I knew a lot of players who had already played here that only had good things to say. It just felt like the right move.”
CB: Tosin Adarabioyo
Following successful loan spells at West Brom and Blackburn, City cashed in on Adarabioyo and sold him to Fulham before the 2020-21 season.
The 23-year-old performed impressively despite Fulham’s relegation and made 193 clearances in the Premier League – more than any other player.
Having proven himself capable in the top division, Adarabioyo is likely to be on the move this summer with Arsenal and Norwich City rumoured to be interested in his services.
Tosin Adarabioyo is such a baller.
— The Second Tier (@secondtierpod) June 20, 2020
LB: Ed Francis
After graduating from City’s academy in the summer of 2018, Francis was loaned out to Dutch side Almere City before making a permanent transfer to Wolves six months later.
Having struggled to break into the City first-team, the centre-back experienced the same fate at Molineux. Francis never played for the first team at Wolves and is now turning out for League Two outfit Harrogate Town.
CM: Matt Smith
Born in England, but representing Wales at international level, Smith is a rarity on this list by still being on Manchester City’s books.
Since starting that demolition of Spurs, the midfielder has enjoyed loan spells at FC Twente, QPR, Charlton and Doncaster while being named in Wales’ squad for Euro 2020.
CM: Phil Foden
CM: Brahim Diaz
Aside from Foden, Diaz has seen the most success of any player on this list – anyone who can list Manchester City, Real Madrid and AC Milan on their CV has clearly done something right.
City never wanted to sell Diaz but the forward wished to depart at the end of his contract. Eventually, Guardiola cut his losses and sold Diaz to Real Madrid in January 2019 for a fee of €17 million.
The 21-year-old fluttered about on the fringes of the Real squad, making 21 appearances over a season and a half without ever quite establishing himself as a starter.
A loan move to Milan has done wonders for Diaz. Seven goals in 39 appearances are evidence that he’s played an important role in the tentative revival of the Italian giants.
— Ty, jeden mecz mi nie wszedł (@tjmmnw) May 9, 2021
RW: Ian Poveda (Benjamin Garre, 46)
Scorer of two goals against Spurs, Poveda made just one first-team appearance under Pep Guardiola and joined Leeds on a permanent deal in January 2020.
Despite earning plaudits whenever he’s made an appearance, the young winger has found opportunities hard to come by at Elland Road.
After playing 11 times during the 2020-21 season, Poveda may be best advised seeking a temporary loan deal to boost his minutes – especially as Leeds are reportedly interested in signing another winger.
His half-time replacement in May 2018 was a highly rated prospect that never broke through at the Etihad Stadium.
Garre decided to leave City in search of more first-team football and switched to Racing Club in his native Argentina.
Upon departing, he told the Manchester Evening News: “Guardiola called me when I arrived at Racing to wish me the best. I’ve learned a lot from Pep; he’s a top-class coach. I’m very grateful for everything he gave me.”
LW: Luke Bolton (Lorenzo Gonzalez, 83)
A lack of first-team appearances at City? A handful of impressive loan spells? A glowing reference from Pep Guardiola? Check, check and check.
Bolton has spent time at Wycombe, Luton and Dundee United and was convinced to double up as a full-back after a word from Guardiola. Speaking to MEN in 2019, he said: “He pulled me into his office. We are speaking, he thanked me for pre-season and then said that’s where he thinks I’m going to be best.
“So straight away, I said: ‘No problem, that’s where I’ll play.’ I will never argue and say: ‘No, I think I’m a winger.’
“I will take it on board from someone like that as he’s managed a lot of top players as well. He said, with my pace, getting up and down the line, he just thinks I’m going to be more sorted to full-back than as a winger.”
Substitute striker Gonzalez was another of this line-up never to play for City and is now, via Malaga, playing in Switzerland for St. Gallen.
ST: Lukas Nmecha
Nmecha has been banging in the goals for Anderlecht this season, scoring 10 goals for Vincent Kompany’s side.
His form has come as something of a surprise considering previous loan spells at Preston, Wolfsburg and Middlesbrough have redefined the word ‘underwhelming.
Anderlecht are understandably desperate to keep him, but City may be tempted to keep the 22-year-old around.