Phil Foden can replace Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at the top, insists Michael Owen who warns Man City and England ace of pressures from being global star

Phil Foden has the potential to go on and emulate what Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have done in their illustrious careers, talkSPORT has been told.

The Man City youngster, who won the PFA’s Young Player of the Year award for the 2020/21 season, has already earned comparisons with the likes of England legend Paul Gascoigne after establishing himself as a first-team regular at the Etihad Stadium.

Foden has enormous potential – but can he really emulate what Messi and Ronaldo have achieved in their respective careers?

And former England striker Michael Owen, who burst on the scene as an 18-year-old at World Cup 1998, believes the sky is the limit for the talented midfielder.

“We’ve got so many good kids, but he is the one. I look at him and think he could be anything. World, world class,” Owen told talkSPORT Breakfast.

“We’re talking the [Lionel] Messi’s and [Cristiano] Ronaldo’s that are going to finish in the coming years and we’re all looking at the next generation of great players.

“I think from the England point of view he could be an absolute world-class player for years and years to come. I just hope he keeps developing in that way.”

But while Owen can’t speak highly enough of Foden’s talent, he offered him a word of warning amid a potential media frenzy off the pitch – which he knows all too well about.

Owen wrote himself into England folklore with his incredible goal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup
Getty Images

“I don’t think he needs to change on the pitch as he’s in his element – he’s at home and feels relaxed,” Owen added.

“It’s off the pitch [where it gets intense]. I wouldn’t say I struggled but you think ‘wow’, it hits you.

“The press, the pressure, the ten cars following you around for the next six months because everyone’s interested in what shop you’re going to walk into and what hairdressers you’re going to.

“They want to know more about your life than we currently know. All we want to know at the moment is how good Phil Foden is and how far he can go in his career.

“But if you come back a superstar then they want to know absolutely everything… what you’re eating, how you sleep, just everything.

“And that’s quite intrusive and that’s something he’ll have to adapt to.”

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