Match ends, Oxford United 0, Manchester City 3.
Oxford United 0-3 Manchester City: Carabao Cup holders see off League One strugglers
Phil Foden was compared to Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta after his goal in Manchester City's Carabao Cup win over Oxford United - with boss Pep Guardiola saying he can be an "amazing" player for the club over the next decade.
The 18-year-old, who is tipped for a golden future with club and country, ran the show and had a hand in all three goals as City eventually overpowered the League One strugglers to ease to victory.
Oxford manager Karl Robinson 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 Spain midfield icon Iniesta at Barcelona, was keen to play down those comparisons but had plenty of praise for the youngster.
"Andres is a big, big word but I have said many times we are delighted with Phil," said Guardiola. "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.
"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 has a sense of the goal. He is not a guy who will pass in that situation."
Guardiola made 10 changes from the side that won 5-0 at Cardiff City at the weekend and kept £256m worth of talent on the bench - but still had enough to win without ever being threatened.
Gabriel Jesus' close-range header gave them the lead at half-time and City gave the scoreline a more realistic look as Oxford, second from bottom in League One, understandably tired late on.
Foden, who had helped create Jesus' opener, produced a superb pass to put Riyad Mahrez clear for his third goal in two games, then got the reward his performance deserved with a perfect low drive with virtually the last kick of the game.
Foden shows his class
Guardiola took the opportunity to give Foden a rare start - and how he delivered.
And while the youngster's performance must be placed in the context of the opposition, Foden still showed enough touches of quality to hint at the bright future everyone at City expects.
Foden, who many sound judges believe will be swiftly elevated to senior England status if he can force his way into City's team, was heavily involved throughout, his slight figure comfortable in possession and with enough of a turn of pace to drift through the crowded areas in midfield.
He was always willing to take responsibility, knit play together and act as the fulcrum of City's team.
It was his exquisite 40-yard pass that picked out Brahim Diaz in the build-up to Jesus's opener and he could, perhaps should, have had a goal himself when he shot into the side-netting at the far post in the second half but he more than made up for that.
He started to make amends shortly afterwards with another superb diagonal pass to release Mahrez to finish the game off and also brought a fine save from Oxford goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell with a rising drive.
It was fitting he provided the final flourish with that crisp left-foot drive that completed the formalities. It was richly deserved.
Foden must fight his way past Guardiola's embarrassment of riches before he takes that next crucial step in his career but there is no question it will happen and his manager clearly has great faith in his ability.
"Last season we showed him he was special and that is why we decided not to buy any attacking players in that position, because we have Phil," said Guardiola. "He belongs in our team and he will have minutes.
"He's physically very strong. He grows up a lot, especially in the last year because he's a teenager and he needs to grow.
"He senses the rhythm we play and the pace we play and that is why he is ready to play with us home and away.
Struggling Oxford can take heart
No-one seriously expected a shock here - Oxford have only won one of their first nine league games, losing six.
Manager Karl Robinson is fighting to avoid a season of struggle and admitted before kick-off that his team selection was shaped by the importance of Oxford's visit to AFC Wimbledon this Saturday.
The U's came into this game low on confidence off the back of a home loss to Walsall and there was never any point when they looked like making a dent in City's vast armoury.
Where struggling Robinson can take heart, even though the gap in quality was vast, obvious and understandable, was in the fighting spirit his team showed.
It took 78 minutes before City got the second to snuff out any chance of an unlikely upset, testimony to the determination and last-ditch defending Oxford produced despite being outclassed - as indeed many Premier League teams have been before them.
Robinson would have known victory would only have been in his wildest dreams but he can at least take solace from how his side stuck to their task to deserved the warm applause they got from their fans at the final whistle.
Mahrez settling in
Mahrez has eased his way into life at City after his £60m summer move from Leicester - but in the last two games has shown signs of the quality that persuaded Guardiola to pay that sum.
The man who helped inspire Leicester's title win in 2016 got off the mark with two goals in the 5-0 win at Cardiff City on Saturday and while some of his finishing was wayward here, he made no mistake with an emphatic finish when played clear by Foden.
Mahrez adds width and added unpredictability and will prove his worth as the season continues.
Man of the match - Phil Foden (Man City)
Foden had a hand in all three goals - scoring his first in senior football late on.
- 4DickieBooked at 83mins
- 3GarbuttBooked at 37mins
- 6HansonSubstituted forHenryat 67'minutes
- 8BrannaganSubstituted forRuffelsat 55'minutes
- 12HolmesSubstituted forSmithat 77'minutes
- 3DaniloBooked at 64mins
- 26MahrezSubstituted forBernabeat 86'minutes
- 21SilvaSubstituted forGündoganat 63'minutes
- 55DiazSubstituted forSterlingat 55'minutes
- 33Gabriel Jesus
- Roger East
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Oxford United 0, Manchester City 3.
Foul by Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).
Luke Garbutt (Oxford United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Oxford United 0, Manchester City 3. Phil Foden (Manchester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.
Adrian Bernabe (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by James Henry (Oxford United).
Attempt blocked. Adrian Bernabe (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Danilo.
Attempt saved. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt missed. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ilkay Gündogan with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Jonathan Mitchell.
Attempt saved. Phil Foden (Manchester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.
John Stones (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Shandon Baptiste (Oxford United).
Substitution, Manchester City. Adrian Bernabe replaces Riyad Mahrez.
Offside, Oxford United. Curtis Nelson tries a through ball, but Sam Smith is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Robert Dickie (Oxford United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Robert Dickie (Oxford United).