Pep Guardiola has praised Phil Foden for wanting to play through the pain, whilst admitting ‘softer’ players could lose their place.
Foden could return for Man City’s trip to Watford this weekend as the title favourites will look to continue to apply pressure on league leaders Chelsea, who are in action against West Ham on Saturday lunchtime.
Guardiola has revealed Foden, 21, always wants to play, even when he’s not feeling 100% fit, which could give him the edge in the battle for a shirt in the City starting 11.
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“He has pain but it doesn’t matter; he says: ‘I play, I play,” Guardiola said. “When he has discomfort and says he does not feel good, it’s because he does not feel good. But he’s a guy who tolerates well.
“Normally you train with pain – it’s impossible to wake up in the morning and be clean with everything – but he’s a guy where it’s not a problem.
“He loves playing football too much. Even in a bad situation, he wants to play and play, and not all of them are like this. Today he was training. He is not thinking about the injury now. I don’t know for tomorrow [if I choose him] but soon he will be back.”
When asked to name the players Guardiola labelled ‘soft’, he joked: “Yeah, I’m going to write a mail to you and I’m going to tell you privately which players are softer.
“I’m going to tell you now. Speak with all the managers: there are players who want to play even when they’re injured and the other ones.
“I was softer – when I had pain I had pain; I didn’t want to play.”
When asked whether he talked to those who refuse to play through the pain like Foden, he admitted he wouldn't force his players into playing:
“If there’s a problem another one will come in.
"If he’s then playing well he’ll continue. It’s a problem with the player. I never push a player who doesn’t feel good to play.”
Foden has found the back of the net five times in 14 appearances across all competitions so far this season, assisting a further four for Guardiola's men.
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