PHIL FODEN was the only man who seemed surprised when his classy first half finish was ruled out for offside, after he sprinted clear of the United defence to latch onto Oleksandr Zinchenko's through ball.
He was clearly offside, but Foden was allowed to complete his fifty yard run and fire the ball through Dean Henderson’s leg before the flag finally went up.
Foden was entitled to wonder how he had been denied – after all, it is not often things do not fall perfectly for the City starlet when he is in Carabao Cup action.
His brilliant cup final display in last year’s Wembley win over Aston Villa persuaded plenty of people that there might actually be life after David Silva for Pep Guardiola’s side.
And he set City on their way to a fourth successive final in this competition by netting the winner when his team began their cup defence with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Bournemouth back in September.
Another goal and an assist in the 4-1 quarter-final romp at Arsenal confirmed his liking for this competition – although he proved he is anything but a ‘one trick pony’ with another dazzling performance in the 3-1 win at Chelsea on Sunday.
Foden, 20, was a constant threat down the City left again last night, despite being up against another man in top form in United right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
The City player’s efforts drew an admiring reaction from BBC Radio 5 Live pundit Dion Dublin, who feels he has an old head on young shoulders.
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Dublin explained: “Phil Foden looks so comfortable on the ball and always looks like he's got more time than he has.
“He hasn't tried anything on the outside of Aaron Wan-Bissaka because we know that's his strength – and Foden knows that's his strength.
“So, he's just trying to pick a pass, play one-twos around Wan-Bissaka.
Foden also provided the cross for John Stones to open the scoring last night, and you just have to hope that Dublin’s belief in his growing maturity is justified.
Phil Foden looks so comfortable on the ball and always looks like he's got more time than he has
It did not look that way back in November, of course, when Foden and Mason Greenwood were briefly axed from the England squad for breaking rhe Covid 19 regulations by inviting a couple of girls back to their hotel room in Iceland.
He made amends by netting twice against the same opponents when he won his third cap a couple of weeks later, and his goal at Chelsea means he has now scored eight times for club and country so far this season.
And even though his 25th minute effort was rightly chalked off last night, you sense there are plenty more goals to come in the next few months.
Foden seems to have finally established himself as a first team regular at the Etihad, athough Pep Guardiola’s rotation policy will keep him on his toes.
But the City winger clearly has the class and the confidence to make a big impact when England take over centre stage towards the end of the season.
A hat-trick of World Cup qualifiers in six days at the end of March will be the appetiser for the delayed Euro 20 finals.
And Foden should be in the thick of the action, just as he has been for City lately.
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