England fans have been frustrated over the last few days about Phil Foden not being selected to start by Gareth Southgate – and now, the Three Lions manager has made some truly bizarre comments about the Manchester City star.
On Saturday, England played Ukraine in a Euro 2024 qualifying match.
The game finished 1-1 and many fans have slammed the performance.
Southgate has drawn a lot of criticism for his team selection, which included James Maddison being shoehorned out on the left, and Jordan Henderson in the middle.
Foden was on the bench, and was brought on as a substitute with around 25 minutes left to play.
Ahead of tonight’s game with Scotland, Southgate has now issued a very odd assessment of Foden…
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Gareth Southgate sees Manchester City star Phil Foden as a winger
Fans have been waiting for word from Southgate on Foden.
If anything, people just want to understand why the 23-year-old is not more prominent in the England team.
Southgate, 53, has now offered a reason that is simply baffling.
He said (Daily Mail): “He doesn’t play there for his club, so presumably there is a reason for that. It depends on the level of the game, really.
“In the middle of the park, everyone wants to talk about when you are with the ball but there is a lot of detail without the ball and games where you have to be spot on with pressing angles. If you don’t, you don’t get the flow of the game.
“You’d have to speak to Pep, who is the best coach in the world, who plays him wide. He’s always got the freedom to drift if we play him wide and that’s important.
“We are very happy with Phil. He’s played in the Euros, came on in the semi-final of the Euros and had a big impact, he’s played in World Cups for us. He’s only 23 years old, he’s got amazing experience. He is still progressing and learning but he is a super player.
“But we’ve got a lot of really good young players so it has not been straight-forward. We have expectations of every player and he’s been with us from a young age. But he’s battling against Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford and all of the other players we have in that area.”
Southgate has got it all wrong with Foden
Because Foden does play centrally – and he plays the position extremely well.
Foden got a few games in the middle towards the end of last season, and of course, he replaced the injured Kevin De Bruyne in the Champions League final against Inter.
This term, Foden has featured centrally more than he has out wide.
His performance against Newcastle United last month, when he played as a number eight, was perhaps one of the best individual displays by any player in the Premier League so far this season.
At this point, it is madness to suggest he does not play in the middle for his club.
But even if he wasn’t doing so regularly, why is Southgate then putting Maddison on the left wing, a position that Foden is extremely familiar with?
It is such a shame that this is the current situation.
Foden should be having the team built around him. He should not be sitting on the bench watching players fail to impact games because of silly decisions.