‘Our most talented player’ – Everyone calls for England boss Gareth Southgate to play Phil Foden at World Cup



England manager Gareth Southgate has come under fire for snubbing Phil Foden during the lacklustre 0-0 draw with the USA at the 2022 World Cup on Friday evening.

The Three Lions would have become the first team to reach the knockout stages in Qatar with victory, but they struggled to create chances on a difficult night at the Al Bayt Stadium with Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount all struggling.

Many observers felt Foden should have been introduced for Mount to freshen up the attack, with Southgate later offering a bizarre reason for leaving him on the bench.

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“We didn’t feel it was right for Phil [to play] in the middle because he doesn’t play there for his club,” said Southgate.

Foden has regularly played close to Erling Haaland at Manchester City this season, scoring seven goals and assisting three more in the Premier League.

Former England striker Ian Wright said Foden’s experience at club level would have made him the ideal man to unlock the United States defence.

“Simply because we know Manchester City has to deal with that low block, so he’s somebody at finding space in one, two passes and getting into those areas,” Wright said on ITV.

Gary Neville was also frustrated that Foden was overlooked, along with Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, saying that the other big nations would start both players.

“I was disappointed not to see Foden, for me that talent is huge… for Foden not to be amongst that, and not off the bench is interesting,” he said.

“I’ve got huge respect for Gareth but we’ve got talents on the bench in Trent Alexander-Arnold and Phil Foden who can open up a game. I think those two not coming off the bench was disappointing.

“If we’re not confident against the USA playing him, we’ve not got that now…. I think other nations [like] France, Spain, Brazil would have Foden and Trent Alexander-Arnold starting. Those two players, should they be in there?”

And the clamour extended to social media, with former England internationals Michael Owen and Ross Barkley hitting out at Foden’s absence.

Even Premier League cult hero manager Neil Warnock waded in on the debate, urging Southgate to switch Mount for Foden.

England will top Group B with victory over Wales in their final game on November 29, with only a heavy defeat likely to deny them a spot in the knockouts.

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