Phil Foden's match issued Nike Phantom Venom
Player name: Philip Walter Foden
Clubs: Manchester City
Position: Attacking midfielder / winger
Height: 5 ft 7 in
Phil Foden is an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Manchester City and the England under-21 team. Foden's breakthrough into professional football came in 2017 when he won the FIFA U-17 World Cup Golden Ball award following England's successful Under-17 World Cup campaign. He made his debut for City during the same year and in December was named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year. Foden has since made over 60 appearances for the club, winning eight honours including becoming the youngest rever ecipient of a Premier League winners' medal. In 2019, he won a second Premier League and became the club's youngest-ever goalscorer in the UEFA Champions League, and is the youngest English player to both start a match and score in the knockout stages of the competition.
Here we have a pair of Foden's match issued/prepared Nike Phantom Venom boots, custom made for and supplied to him during the 2019-20 season. This pair feature some unique differences putting them leaps and bounds ahead of what you and can buy in a general store with the retail models of this boot.
Nike have specially personalised this pair for Phil, by adding his newly born son's name "Ronnie Foden" along with the England flag. In the shot above, we can also see that Phil does not use a regular soleplate on his Phantom Venom boots. He instead prefers the SG-Pro soleplate lifted from the Hypervenom iii model, a boot which he wore during the breakthrough at the start of his career.
Still only 19, Phil is one of the brightest and most promising young talents in the whole of Europe. Foden is left-footed, playing mainly as a central midfielder but can also play as a winger on the right, though Pep Guardiola has described him as "more of a midfielder". In 2017, Guardiola described him as "a special player", saying: "It's dangerous to say good things about young players because they are still young, and they have to grow and they have to learn many, many things... But we have a lot of confidence to help him, because we believe he is a guy who has potential, even if he's not strong, he's not tall." In 2017, Louise Taylor of The Guardian described Foden as "boasting tight, adhesive control and blessed with the knack of drifting past opponents". In 2018, veteran football writer Brian Glanville described him as a "gifted and precocious teenager", adding: "Young players of his skill and inventive quality are pitifully thin on the ground."
As Phil's boots have a number of modifications, Nike custom make them to measure in their famous Montebelluna factory located in Italy. The insole of the right boot bares "Made in Italy" with the Nike swoosh, whilst the left boasts the Montebelluna factory logo which has "Athlete Service" written within. The top left box of the logo states "MB est 96", which indicates Nike have been making top athletes' boots there for over 2 decades.
The insoles of Phil's pair differ greatly to the ones you get with the retail version Nike Phantom Venom boots. Foden's pair are stiffer, and have the "PORON" padded areas on the bottom, whilst the retail versions are a flimsy sponge like material.
In the 2020 Carabao Cup Final at Wembley Stadium Phil put in a performance of maturity beyond his years, which got him the fully deserved man of the match award. It isn't often you can say a 19 year old was the stand out best player on the pitch in a cup final in front of 90,000 fans. He made the assist for Sergio Aguero's opening goal in the 20th minute as City went on to win the match and lift the trophy. 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.
The craftsmen in the Montebelluna factory have added a layer pf padding inside each boot, running the full length - underneath where the insole would be. His ID number can be seen written inside, Foden wears a size UK7.5-8 / US8.5-9.
Above is a side by side comparison of the inside of a retail version Phantom Venom (right) and Foden's version (left).
This pair remained unworn, with Foden only wearing the FG variation whilst contracted to wear this colourway. Even with his FG pairs, Phil does not wear the retail soleplate, but instead has a custom Tiempo Legend 4 soleplate - a modification common among elite pros with the Phantom Venom silo. Other players such as Sterling, Busquets and Thiago, to name a few, also customise their FG pairs with the Tiempo plate.
The main reason elite pros request custom SG-Pro soleplates instead of wearing the Anti-Clog SG you find on retail pairs is simple, weight and flexibility. The Anti-Clog soleplate is great if you're playing on a boggy Sunday league pitch, however, if you're a top pro playing on inch perfect pitches there is no need for the Anti-Clog technology... because well, there's nothing getting clogged up. The thinner, lighter SG-Pro soleplates are more suited to the professional level pitches and playing intensity's. Nike even left the Hypervenom logo in the heel area, as it isn't noticeable unless the boots are in your hands - this can't be spotted on TV.
The upper material on Foden's pair also feels considerably softer and of superior quality to that of the retail version, this is only noticeable when you have them both in hand and are able to compare though. This will aid break in time and comfort whilst playing, just that bit extra that elite pros require.