Phil Foden: England's Enigma Amidst a Wealth of Talent

Phil Foden: England’s Enigma Amidst a Wealth of Talent

Phil Foden, the 23-year-old Manchester City prodigy, has emerged as a formidable force in the Premier League, earning accolades as the league’s best player from his manager, Pep Guardiola. However, his role in Gareth Southgate’s England setup remains uncertain as Euro 2024 approaches.

Foden’s exceptional talent has been evident since his youth, and he has amassed an impressive collection of 14 major trophies with Manchester City. This season, he has been instrumental in the team’s success, contributing 18 goals and 10 assists in 41 appearances. Guardiola has hailed Foden as “the best player in the Premier League right now,” citing his versatility and ability to win games with his goals.

Despite his club form, Foden has yet to make a similar impact for England. He has been part of Southgate’s squad for the past two major tournaments but has struggled to secure a regular starting role. His versatility has proven to be both a blessing and a curse, as he faces competition from a plethora of talented English players.

In the England midfield, Foden has been overshadowed by Real Madrid’s Jude Bellingham, who has established himself as one of the world’s best at just 20 years old. On the right wing, he faces competition from Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, who impressed at the World Cup and has earned Southgate’s trust.

As a result, Foden has been relegated to competing with Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish for a place on the left side of the England attack. While he is capable in that position, there is a sense that he has been sacrificed to accommodate others. His international goal tally of four from 31 appearances pales in comparison to his prolificacy for Manchester City.

Former England captain Alan Shearer believes Foden should be an automatic starter for England, praising his ability to receive the ball in tight situations and make it look easy. Gary Neville, another former England international, has criticized Southgate for not finding a suitable role for Foden, calling him “a sensation” and “something really, really special.”

With Euro 2024 on the horizon, the pressure is on Southgate to find a solution that allows Foden to showcase his full potential for England. The possibility of playing both Foden and Bellingham centrally, with Declan Rice behind them, has been suggested by many fans and pundits. However, Southgate has favored a more defensive-minded approach in the past.

Foden’s form has made him impossible to ignore, and Southgate must now find a way to accommodate his array of attacking talent while ensuring balance in the team. The upcoming international fixtures will provide an opportunity for Foden to prove his worth and stake his claim for a starting role at Euro 2024.