Manchester City youngster Cole Palmer could have a similar trajectory to that of Phil Foden, according to Pep Guardiola’s assistant Rodolfo Borrell.
Palmer played a crucial role in City’s 4-1 FA Cup third-round win over Swindon Town on Friday, setting up the opener for Bernardo Silva before netting his maiden goal in the competition late on with a gorgeous strike.
It was an all-round positive display from the right-winger, whose close ball control and technical ability made him a constant nuisance to the fourth-tier opposition, while he also proved a reliable creative outlet.
No player on the pitch could match his four chances created, and his overall positivity on and off the ball led to him registering four more touches (14) in the penalty area than anyone else.
That led to a game-high total of five shots, four of which were from inside the box, including his well-taken goal.
The 19-year-old was making his 10th competitive appearance of the season across all competitions and looked at home alongside seasoned superstars like Kevin De Bruyne and Silva.
Borrell, who was in charge due to Guardiola testing positive for coronavirus, suggested they are looking at Palmer’s development in a similar light to that of Foden.
With it put to Borrell that Palmer looked “special”, the coach told ITV Sport: “Yes, it’s true, we have him training with us [the first team] on a regular basis.
“He has great quality, everyone has been able to see this. He’s a great player, still needs developing quite a lot but there is obviously a lot of talent there.
“Hopefully very soon he can play more minutes with us like Phil Foden a couple of years ago.”
Borrell attempted to temper any comparisons between the two City youth products, but he did not hide his excitement about Palmer.
He continued: “They’re completely different players and obviously Phil has shown… I’m not going say [Foden’s shown] more than him, but obviously he’s older than [Palmer] and has had more opportunities.
“At the end of the day, they’re two great players. Right now, Phil is already established in our first team and in the national team.
“With Cole, he obviously has the talent and the ingredients to become [something similar] but let’s see.
“It’s in his hands, he has to keep working hard and performing consistently at a good level.”
Ultimately there was little for City to worry about at the County Ground, with Guardiola’s absence no more than a footnote.
As it turned out, he had little to do with the game once it started, such is his belief in his coaches.
Borrell added: “We were in touch at half-time. There was not a massive change because everything was as planned as before.
“He has great confidence in all of us. Not just me but all the backroom staff, we have been with him a long time.
“We planned all of this together but to be honest with you, after the start of the game he said, ‘listen, do as if I wasn’t there and obviously if you need anything, keep in touch, and we’ll chat at half-time’.
“He has huge confidence in us and I’m grateful, we are grateful. Everything was as planned and it has been a great experience for me and for all of us.”