Manchester City Pep Guardiola says he fully trusts Phil Foden to play significant minutes this season and expects the youngster to fill out into a more physical player in the near future.
Foden, 18, was selected for the Community Shield victory over Chelsea this month, but City's returning World Cup players mean he will face an uphill battle to see the field.
However, Kevin De Bruyne's injury means there could be an opening for Foden to step in, and Guardiola has little doubt the teenager can step up if called upon.
"We know him very well. He was with us last season, he is part of the group," Guardiola told English newspapers. "Sometimes last season he went with the second team, first team, second team -- now he is part of the team.
"When I believe he has to play, he plays. All I can say is that I'm so delighted the way he trains every single day. He trains like a professional, the way he improves, and he has the same chances, like the other guys, to win my decision.
"I think for players who come from the academy, the problem is to settle immediately in the first team. It's not easy, it's complicated.
"But that is not the case with Phil because I had to put him in Champions League or Community Shield against Chelsea. He can do it. We trust him a lot."
Guardiola also warned opponents should not try to take advantage of Foden's slight frame.
"He is strong. He looks tiny, skinny -- but he is strong," the manager said. "This season he is stronger than last season and, give him time, in one, two or three seasons he will be more and more stronger than right now.
"He will grow. That's why the focus first is teaching the technique as the most important thing. He will grow and take power and after it will be easy for him.
"But he has the quality to play with us, that is no doubt."
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