Phil Foden is a generational talent – so why won’t Gareth Southgate play him?

If there is a question to be asked of Gareth Southgate, it is his intention to convince us that England are not dangerously close to abusing one of their most gifted footballers, as they increasingly allege.

The same goes for the player who makes Pep Guardiola’s eyes light up every time the conversation moves in his direction. The player in question has worn the colors of Manchester City brilliantly. He is, in Guardiola’s words, “exceptional” and “incredible”, a four-time Premier League winner with such natural style and flair that he gives the impression that he must live up to his first name with the ball.

Also Read :  Fox Sports disrespecting fans with World Cup dishonesty

So why the reluctance to trust Phil Foden in an England shirt and make him as important to the national team as to his club? Why is England holding on to him? Why isn’t a player with these supreme gifts a mandatory first team selection for his country?

This isn’t just a knee-jerk reaction to England’s goalless draw against the USA, nor is it a performance summed up by the statistic that Harry Kane has touched the ball more times in his own penalty area midway through the second half. Opponents’.

Also Read :  Every word from Mikel's post-Wolves presser | Press conference | News

If anything, it’s a question that could be raised even before Friday’s game as Foden had to wait until the two-time Premier League winner before being called up for his first England game.

Normally, any English player who has such a positive impact on a top Premier League team is quickly included in the England squad. However, not in this case. Foden made his debut for City almost three years before his first appearance for England’s senior team.

Also Read :  ‘¡Abuela la la la!’ María Cristina Mariscotti Argentina World Cup cábala

In the city, Guardiola will stretch his cheeks in appreciation and tell us that there are not enough superlatives to describe the boy’s talent. It is different with England. Foden, it seems, was never one of Southgate’s real favourites. He was never the automatic go-to man when the team lacked creativity.

Although they have been together as coach and player for two years, there is still a clear sense of Southgate experimenting rather than relying on a player who has already achieved so much in his career.

Phil Foden disagrees with Gareth Southgate (Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

It can all be confusing, to say the least, when Foden is clearly a difference-maker.

“It’s a real shame Phil Foden isn’t playing in the England XI because he’s a massive talent,” TV pundit Gary Neville, who usually backs Southgate’s selections, said during Friday’s coverage. “He’s our best player, our best talent, he should be playing by a mile.”

Unfortunately for Foden, Southgate doesn’t seem entirely on board with that thinking.

Foden has only played a full match four times in his international career. At the age of 22, Forden has amassed 19 caps. Who could disagree with Neville when he said that if Foden had come from Spain rather than Stockport, it would have been significantly higher.

“For me, his talent is huge,” Neville said. “I’ve never seen anything like that (in the USA game). I know we have (Jude) Bellingham, (Jack) Grealish and others. Gareth likes (Mason) Kanda, he likes (Bukayo) Saka, he prefers Sterling. But for me … Foden not being in that starting XI – and him not coming off the bench – was interesting.

It’s safe to assume that “interesting” in this context is a polite way of saying that Southgate gets it badly wrong. Others put it in inevitably vague terms. Southgate is often characterized as overly conservative, and if there’s a sense of deja vu here, it’s because many of the same arguments applied to Grealish’s extended absence at Euro 2020 last year.

Phil Foden hits the post against Croatia at Euro 2020 (Photo: Martin Ricketts/PA Images via Getty Images)

Southgate, to give him his due, could argue that his selections in that tournament took England to their first major final since 1966. But such is the nature of the job, and as Sven Göran Eriksson says, he understands that England. , a nation of 60 million football managers. It’s one of the reasons why Southgate hasn’t posted on social media since 2015 and advises his players to avoid Twitter, especially during tournaments.

However, there are legitimate questions to be asked when many argue that England’s biggest problem against the US was their lack of creativity – well, well, whaddya knows – with their most creative player on the bench.

Southgate’s explanation was that, firstly, he wanted to keep an intact team after the impressive win against Iran. Jordan Henderson was brought in as his first replacement because he needed more experience in the middle. Rashford was brought on to inject some extra pace and asked Grealish to move the ball further up the pitch.

Gareth Southgate turned to Marcus Rashford over Phil Foden from the bench (Photo: Nick Potts/PA Images via Getty Images)

It all sounds good until you remember that Foden has that extra bit of magic to unlock opposing defences. Grealish is so good that Foden comes ahead of him for City. But he started just two games at Euro 2020 and has been limited to 19 minutes so far at the World Cup.

“We love Phil without a doubt, he’s a great player,” Southgate said afterwards. “We could have gone with Phil and maybe things would have turned out differently, but those were the choices we made.”

Some will remember that Foden was once sent home from an England squad for breaching COVID-19 rules and will wonder if that still counts against him. However, that is not possible in two years.

Is England’s manager spoiled for choice?

Xhaka’s departure may have been necessary to field Forden against the USA, and after the Arsenal man’s two goals against Iran earlier in the week, many will not be campaigning for that.

Yes, Sterling was largely ineffective during Friday’s game, but don’t judge the Chelsea man on one poor night. On other occasions, Southgate has been asked if Sterling could be a Ballon d’Or winner. Sterling’s record for England, with 81 caps spanning 10 years, is testament to Southgate’s selection.

Raheem Sterling is trusted by Gareth Southgate (Photo: Jose Breton/PixAction/Noor Photo via Getty Images)

So, how do you fit into Ford? Or more importantly, does Southgate think he is willing to make changes for Monday’s game against Wales?

Many observers argue that it should be at the expense of Mt. However, Southgate has shown in the past that he will not bow to outside pressure. That must be Foden’s biggest worry.

More than anything, it can feel dissatisfying that a player with such rare gifts doesn’t get the chance – or more chance – to show what he can do at a World Cup.

These players don’t come around very often; It makes them special. When they do, it’s important to cherish them. England, like City, should make the most of it.

(Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button