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Foden has goals in his veins, says Guardiola

MANCHESTER, England : Phil Foden has an incredible gift for scoring goals, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said after his young forward scored a sublime hat-trick in a 4-1 thrashing of Aston Villa on Wednesday that kept them on course to retain the Premier League title.

With City's league-leading scorer Erling Haaland an unused substitute, Foden stepped up, finding a gap in Villa's wall with a superb free kick just before halftime to net his first goal.

"His work ethic is amazing. He plays in central positions and has an incredible sense of goal - he has goals in his veins and we have to use him," Guardiola said. "He has a natural talent, a gift, that is special."

The 23-year-old England international completed his hat-track with two strikes seven minutes apart in the second half, including a rocket from 25 yards to move on to 21 goals across all competitions this season.

Guardiola said the sky was the limit for Foden.

"He can do whatever he wants," said the manager. "He is a really top-class player, we know it."

Guardiola also praised Foden's team mates, particularly Rodri who assisted on his second goal.

"And when we're right there (in the final third), (Foden) has the sense, he doesn't need a lot of touches to put the ball into the net," Guardiola said.

"Football it is the most difficult thing to score goals, the guy who puts the ball in the net. When you have that, it is a gift for the team, absolutely."

Former City defender Joleon Lescott compared Foden to Wayne Rooney, who plundered 183 Premier League goals for Manchester United.

"I always speak so highly of him and Phil Foden is similar to him in that he is obsessed with football, completely," Lescott said on the TNT broadcast.

"Rooney was the first player I met that

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