Phil Foden may be regarded as Manchester City’s long-term replacement for David Silva – but the man himself does not want the Spanish playmaker to leave.
Veteran Silva, 33, announced over the summer that the coming season would be his last for City, taking his service at the club to 10 years.
Highly-rated Foden, 19, has seen his role gradually increased by manager Pep Guardiola over the past two seasons and that progression is likely to continue as the treble winners prepare for Silva’s departure.
But Foden is not yet considering what Silva’s exit might mean for him.
“It’s going to be a shame,” said Foden, who had his first run-out of pre-season in Wednesday’s friendly against Kitchee in Hong Kong.
“I’m not thinking about that too much because I don’t want it to happen. He’s here now so let’s try and be happy.
“He’s still a great player, you could see on Wednesday how sharp he is even at the age he is. He’s still a special player.”
Foden was given his first three Premier League starts during last season’s successful title run-in and rewarded Guardiola for his selection with the winning goal in a critical game against Tottenham.
He said: “It was massive for me. It was such a big game, we needed the win and I came in and gave everything I got. I’m just happy it went so well and happy to help the team.”
Foden is now likely to be given some more action as City, having flown to Japan, wrap up their pre-season tour of Asia with a game against sister club Yokohama F Marinos on Saturday.
They then return to England to prepare for the Community Shield match against Liverpool on August 4.
Foden said: “I can’t wait. I’m glad to be back and feeling happy and sharp.
“I feel like I’m getting better and more mature and ready for any challenge that gets thrown at me.
“The manager has just told me to keep working. He’s not that kind of manager who gives you chances if you’re not playing well. You have to show him each day what you’re capable of and earn your chances.”