Kyle Walker backs De Bruyne’s replacement

Kevin De Bruyne’s injury looked to be a devastating blow to the defending champions, but it could give Phil Foden the opportunity to shine.

His Manchester City team-mate Kyle Walker has every confidence in the young England international and with De Bruyne sidelined for several months, Foden may be welcomed into the fold.

De Bruyne, 27, was the star of the show for City in their record-breaking season, bagging 12 goals and 21 assists.

But his side faced their first obstacle in their defence of the title when he suffered a knee injury during training, which looks set to rule him out for at least two months.

Pep Guardiola has impressive depth in his squad, so with De Bruyne out he has a host of players to choose from including young Foden.

The U17 World Cup winning star will now move up the pecking order and could well be given a more regular spot in the first team.

Walker has been impressed with the 18-year-old both on and off the pitch and spoke of the maturity he shows that is well beyond his years.

He said: “Phil’s got a great attitude, a great player, and more importantly, he’s a great lad.

“He’s one of those who wants to learn and I think he shows that in his performances- he’s keen, he’s energetic, he’s keeping people on their toes really.”

He has similarly impressed the decision maker at City, Guardiola said: “He was ready for the Premier League last season, he is now one year more mature.

“He is always training with the first team, for us it is so good.”

Foden has made several first-team appearances for City and was a standout star in their Community Shield victory where he received praise from pundits and fans.

But the young Mancunian hasn’t rested on his laurels, Walker said: “Obviously Phil has been very fortunate in his first season around the squad to pick up a Premier League medal- not many kids can say that they’ve done that.

“But he’s not rested on that, he could have come back from the summer, not really trained hard, gone and partied or whatever, which young kids do nowadays, but he’s not done that.

“You can see he’s been working hard, he was even out in Russia so that’s how much he loves the game of football.”

Foden may well have done enough to earn himself a spot in City’s first-home game of the season against Huddersfield.

And even though the assist king may be out of action, Walker is confident that there are plenty of other stars, including Foden, who can win games.

Speaking at the ‘All or Nothing’ premiere, Walker spoke of De Bruyne’s injury and reiterated that the squad was good enough to continue their back-to-back title campaign without the Belgium star .

He said: “Kevin is a great player and it’s just unfortunate that it’s happened to him in training but there’s more than enough depth in the squad.

“We don’t rely on one player, it’s a team game and whoever steps in will do well.

“Obviously it’s a big loss but we’ve got more than enough cover.”

The Belgium star has flown to Barcelona to begin treatment with Pep Guardiola’s favourite doctor , just like Benjamin Mendy did last season.

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