Manchester City will move into a new era when the great David Silva ends a glorious decade of success at the end of this season and at Wembley on Sunday Phil Foden offered a glimpse into what the changing of the guard will offer.
The noise of excitement around the 19-year-old has been a constant soundtrack to his progress ever since he was named player of the tournament when England won the Under-17 World Cup in 2017.
And even though Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has used Foden relatively sparingly, every sighting suggests the Stockport-born prodigy has the gifts to fit comfortably into the Silva-shaped hole that will be left in May.
As Manchester City secured the EFL Cup for the third successive year with a victory over Aston Villa that was more comfortable than the 2-1 scoreline suggests, Foden’s man-of-the-match award was fully deserved.
He plays with a maturity and vision way beyond his years and while England manager Gareth Southgate chose to take in Everton’s meeting with Manchester United at Goodison Park, any report he receives on one of his young brigade from Wembley will be glowing.
When Manchester City started to fashion openings after a brief opening burst from Villa, Foden showed his game awareness when Sergio Aguero put them ahead after 20 minutes.
It would have been easy for his eyes to light up and take the chance himself when he received Rodri’s pass at the far post. Not a bit of it – he saw Aguero in a more advantageous place and cut the ball back for the master marksman to complete the formalities.
Foden was a thorn to Aston Villa left-back Matt Targett all day, coming close to scoring and even showing the audacity and confidence for a bit of ball juggling as he advanced down the right flank in the second half.
No wonder there is such confidence at Manchester City that they – and indeed England – have something very special on their hands for the future.
Foden’s stats backed up the evidence of our own eyes. He had a pass completion rate of 90.2%, had five shots and that crucial assist.