Manchester City: Phil Foden is England's best player since Wayne Rooney
England are currently going through a bit of a golden generation, with arguably their best pool of talent since the Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 group, and Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden is the leader of the pack.
Gareth Southgate currently has a brilliant blend of experience and youth in his squad, with senior members like Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson adding plenty of value but there is a super talented generation coming up behind them ready to take their places.
Alongside the likes of Jadon Sancho, Jude Bellingham and Trent Alexander-Arnold who have all established themselves as regulars in the squad, it’s the Man City playmaker who seems to have the highest ceiling of them all.
Much like that group in 2004 and 2006, there is plenty of quality and talent but that group needed Wayne Rooney to come in and glue it all together. He was the main man immediately and despite the likes of Steven Gerrard, David Beckham and Michael Owen being in the side he was given the keys to the team early on.
That’s something that Southgate and England should look at doing once again with Foden ahead of the World Cup at the end of the year in Qatar.
During Euro 2020, Foden was brought into the starting lineup as they struggled to make an impact early on. He suffered an injury that kept him out of the final after losing his place in the side prior to that, but Southgate had him playing on the wing in a non-Pep Guardiola system.
It works for Man City because they keep the ball for 65 per cent of each game and there is plenty of freedom to move about the pitch regardless of the starting position. Southgate’s tactics are far more rigid and have less flexibility.
But Foden is a supremely talented footballer. His technique is second-to-none in the squad, he is able to get about the pitch, he’s comfortable on the ball in tight places and is brave in possession. He’s also got an excellent goal record and his eye for a pass is tremendous. He’s the complete, modern attacker and is being totally underutilised right now.
If England want to win the 2022 World Cup or any tournaments in the future, the side needs to be built around the 21-year-old in a position that gets the best out of his talents. He’s good enough. In fact, he’s England’s best player since Rooney. Take the risk and give him the keys.
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