Journalist: Manchester City ace Phil Foden shouldn't start for England at World Cup
We’re delighted to welcome freelance journalist Alex Barker, also known as Euro Expert, who has worked for Breaking The Lines, GFFN and more, as our exclusive columnist. Each week he will be giving his views on the biggest talking points on Wonderkids across the UK…
Phil Foden should not be in England’s starting lineup at the World Cup despite his excellent form for Manchester City, says Alex Barker.
The 22-year-old playmaker has hit six Premier League goals and registered three assists so far this season in 10 appearances, and just signed a new long-term contract at the Etihad Stadium to keep him at the club until 2027 at least.
But despite his form, the fact he plays as a winger in a Pep Guardiola side means he won’t necessarily work in that role for Gareth Southgate and Barker would rather see an attack of Raheem Sterling, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka start.
“It’s a tricky question because inherently he’s a Pep winger, so once he’s starting out wide he’s more likely to [come in-field],” he told The Football Wonderkids.
“I think he effectively operates centrally, right? He’s not like a touchline winger. He’s not spinning in crosses, he’s always cutting inside and operating in the half-space.
“I think the role he’s working in is really good with what Pep has. The inverted winger is the right way to say it, or an inside forward. I prefer him out there than up front, because I think Foden is so good with his close control that you want him in a one v one.
“You could take that away if you surround him with a couple of centre-backs who are allowed to pin him. When he’s allowed to drift off into that space, yeah he’s golden.
“It’s tough to be fair [with England]. Typically for England we had Sterling and Kane up front with sometimes Saka off there, so it seems like Southgate prefers his three wingers.
“I guess for Foden he likes to get on the ball and take someone on. And I do think he’s quite a quick player, I think he can be direct. I think he’s someone, in the Pep way, he’s going to slow the game down. City are one of the slowest teams in the league.
“It’s working for them. I think for England, I’m a bit happier with the Saka, Sterling, Kane front line. Just to make sure that when we’re sitting back we can strike on other teams really quickly. Maybe Foden isn’t going to do that.”
In other Manchester City news, Erling Haaland has been backed to smash the Premier League goal record