Phil Foden scored his first Manchester City goal and was subsequently compared to Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta by manager boss Pep Guardiola after their 3-0 win over Oxford at the Kassam Stadium.
The Man City boss went onto say that Foden has the potential to be an “amazing player” for the club over “the next decade”.
The 18-year-old, who is tipped for an England call-up in the near future, was involved in all three goals as the Premier League champions eventually outclassed the League One strugglers and won at a canter in the end.
Foden, who has supported City all his life, also drew praise from Oxford manager Karl Robinson who said: “His feet are to die for. His ability and his orientation of himself on the pitch is genius.
“There is a naturalness to his game and something we have not seen for a long time. It reminded me of watching Barcelona and seeing Iniesta in those positions.”
Guardiola, who managed Spanish midfield icon Iniesta at Barcelona, had plenty of praise for the youngster.
“He’s an exceptional young player and for the next decade Manchester City will have an amazing player. I’m not going to say he’s going to become Andres Iniesta, because that will put a lot of pressure on him and Andres is by far one of the best players I’ve ever seen.
“He is a special guy in terms of quality with and without the ball. The finishing for the third goal was so good. He is not a guy who will pass in that situation.
“The way he celebrated his first goal for us was like the final of the World Cup because he is a City fan. He loves to play for the club.
City made 10 changes from the club that battered Cardiff City 5-0 at the weekend, with Danilo making the starting eleven for the first time this season, and had a staggering £256m worth of talent on the bench, but still had more than enough quality to progress to the Fourth Round with ease.
The Premier League club took the lead through Gabriel Jesus’ close-range header and as Oxford, second from bottom in League One, understandably tired late on, City made the scoreline represent their dominance.
Foden, who helped to create Jesus’ opener, laid the ball on a plate for Ryad Mahrez, who scored his third goal in two games after failing to score in his previous six.
The U’s were without main men Marcus Browne and Jamie Mackie and their absence was clear to see. The Football League club managed less than a handful of shots on goal as they disappointed the home faithful in the clubs’ first ever League Cup meeting.
And as the referee was ready to put the whistle to his lips and put Oxford out of their misery, the teenager then got the reward his sparkling performance deserved, driving the ball low to the ‘keeper’s right with virtually the last kick of the game.
City have now scored eight goals without reply in the two games that have followed the disappointing 2-1 loss to Lyon in the UEFA Champions League last week and will look to build on another impressive performance when they welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Seagulls fell to a 2-1 home defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur in their last game and, although they almost snatched a draw in the dying moments, didn’t do anywhere near enough to warrant one.
With so much competition for places, Pep Guardiola must be scratching his head whilst pondering which stars to pick this weekend, but it’s a fantastic dilemma to have as Manchester City look to claim the table in their quest to retain their Premier League crown.