Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak says it’s been a privilege to watch Phil Foden’s journey from an eight-year-old in the City Academy to the newly-crowned Footballer of the Year.

Still only 24, Foden collected his sixth Premier League winners’ medal after another successful campaign while also passing 200 Premier League appearances for the Club.  

The boyhood City fan was a key figure as we also collected the FIFA Club World Cup and European Super Cup, scoring 27 goals and registering 13 assists.  

It saw Foden deservedly earn a trio of individual honours as he was named Premier League Player of the Season, Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year after and Etihad Player of the Season.  

It was a sensational campaign for Foden, a player whose progress the Chairman has followed closely for years.   

“I’ve had the privilege of watching Phil develop from being an eight-year-old, young player at the Academy. I’ve seen him with my own eyes, as an eight-year-old, as a nine-year-old, as a ten-year-old and as he’s grown, from age group to age group within the Academy and then making it all the way to the first team,” Khaldoon said in the first instalment of his annual end-of-season interview on Saturday, 1 June.  

“And throughout that journey, it was clear to all of us where Phil was going, and it was always about, giving him the right environment and ecosystem and the right development, framework around him to help him grow to what he is today, arguably one of the most decorated English footballers ever.”  

From a mascot and ballboy watching his heroes as a youngster at the Etihad, Foden has progressed to be a huge influence in the first-team dressing room.  

“He’s a leader and I use the word craft because football to Phil is a craft. He loves it and he is passionate about it,” the chairman added.  

“A nice story about Phil. The last game of the Premier League season, the day before the West Ham game, I was attending practice, the last training before the game.  

“Practice finished and I was chatting with someone, all the players left towards the dressing room, but there was one player that was still on the pitch taking shot after shot after shot. And he was at the 18-yard line, central point of the 18-yard line, and he was taking shots on target alone, nobody left.  

“I walked towards him and he made one brilliant shot into the top corner, and I remember I spoke to him and I said: ‘Phil, wonderful, but keep that for tomorrow.’    

“And sure enough, next day, three minutes into the game, he does exactly that shot, exactly that shot. And I think there’s a lot of lessons in this, about that love and commitment and craftsmanship that Phil has towards the game.  

“How really even at that level, last game of the season, he was still out there. And then the next day you can see how practice makes perfect.”  


Foden’s rise has been carefully shepherded under the guidance of Pep Guardiola and the chairman again hailed his impact since arriving at the Etihad Stadium back in 2016.    

Winning another three trophies, Guardiola has now overseen us to 17 pieces of silverware, a haul that includes six Premier League titles, one Champions League, two FA Cups, four League Cups, one UEFA Super Cup, one FIFA Club World Cup and two Community Shields.   

And the City manager’s impact extends way beyond his winning record, with his tactical influence on the English game clearly evident.  

“It’s hard to put into words what Pep has given this organisation and this club,” Khaldoon said.  

“You can look at just records for history’s sake, and there I think he’s racked up every record almost in the book and these are records that I think will be very, very hard, in the future to break.  

“From winning six out of the last seven Premier Leagues, to winning four in a row, the number of wins... the records go on and on and on.   

“Beyond that, I think what his impact has been on football. English football has changed with the evolution to the type of football that Pep has brought into the league.”  

Guardiola signed a contract extension in November 2022 that keeps him at City until next summer.  

The chairman is relaxed about his future and says any talks about staying longer will be done at the right time and in the best interests of Pep and the football club.  

“We have had this conversation many times before, you know that, over the years of the contract,” Al Mubarak said. “Pep has always been fully committed to this club, fully committed to every contract that he has signed with us.  

 “This decision on his future is always a decision that we will take together, and I have no doubt that we will find, as always, as always we have done, the right solution that works for Pep and works for us.”