Where should Phil Foden play for England after Man City’s scintillating form?

Phil Foden has performed in Erling Haaland’s absence (Getty Images)

Phil Foden’s hat-trick against Aston Villa on April 3 could be seen as a turning point for the Manchester City player.

Long considered a substitute for the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland, he shone on that occasion in their absence, with a swagger and confidence that England fans have been waiting for. Not even Wayne Rooney had three Premier League hat-tricks to his name before the age of 24.

No doubt Foden will be included in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the upcoming Euro 2024, but questions remain over whether he will play.

Here, The Independent’s sports team looks at where they think the England manager should deploy one of his key weapons.

Phil Foden was the standout performer of the season (Getty Images)Phil Foden was the standout performer of the season (Getty Images)

Phil Foden was the standout performer of the season (Getty Images)

Miguel Delaney (Head Football Writer): As brilliant as Phil Foden is, the fundamental problem with England is that he is the best in the field that Harry Kane – and now, increasingly, Jude Bellingham – finds himself in. So while you would ideally have Foden as a fluid playmaker, Gareth Southgate’s system makes this unlikely. But of course you have to start him now, which probably means a wide forward spot or at the tip of midfield. Whether either will maximize this incredible level of performance remains to be seen.

Richard Jolly (senior football correspondent): On the left – simply by process of elimination, with Jude Bellingham as number 10, Bukayo Saka on the right, Harry Kane in attack and the need for someone alongside Declan Rice; As much as many like the idea of ​​a central trio of Rice, Bellingham and Foden, it is likely to be unrealistic against a better opposition and would force the latter pair to defend too much, taking away from their strengths.

Jack Rathborn (sports editor): The temptation now will be to move Phil Foden into the middle, perhaps even alongside Jude Bellingham. But that would expose Declan Rice as No. 8 and No. 10, or rob England of real width if Foden and Bellingham were given a free role behind Harry Kane. It’s a mystery that Gareth Southgate may want to solve with Foden flourishing 20 yards from goal and between the posts, but there’s probably not enough time to convince him. Bellingham still offers just as much upside in that role and a lesser version of the Foden who dazzled Manchester City against Aston Villa would still give England the edge from the left, alongside Bukayo Saka’s pace from the right. Perhaps Foden’s form and this debate obscure the real dilemma for Southgate: who will operate alongside Rice and provide the balance the England superstars need to make a difference in the final third?

Where should Phil Foden play for England (The FA via Getty Images)Where should Phil Foden play for England (The FA via Getty Images)

Where should Phil Foden play for England (The FA via Getty Images)

Alex Pattle (sports reporter): I have long been an advocate of Foden as a number 10, with his performance against Villa showing all the qualities that make him a good fit. That said, Jude Bellingham is an exciting number 10 option behind Harry Kane if Foden is to be posted to England. I’d be happy with that – Foden really just needs to be on the pitch, to be honest – but the lack of solid defensive midfielders in England means I’m leaning towards Bellingham playing deeper, with Foden as the 10. That leaves the left wing . spot open, so perhaps we should hope that Marcus Rashford can participate in the Euros in good form.

Jamie Braidwood (sports reporter): I would start Foden on the left wing, with Jude Bellingham at 10 and Bukayo Saka on the right. Having an attacking left-back who provides natural width in Ben Chilwell or, if fit, Luke Shaw, would allow Foden to drift inside and combine in central areas with Bellingham and Harry Kane, and allow him to play the kind of positions to accept that it was so. devastating against Aston Villa on Wednesday evening.

Foden’s performance against Belgium last month was an example of how this could work and his partnership with Bellingham looked particularly promising from an England perspective. Gareth Southgate has the pieces in hand to adopt a 3-2-4-1 structure, with Foden and Bellingham as two 10s.

Sonia Twigg (sports reporter): Despite Foden’s quality, he is perhaps best suited to play behind Harry Kane, although Jude Bellingham is arguably a better fit. That leaves space on the left unless Gareth Southgate is willing to change his system, which seems unlikely. That’s why I can just see him playing on the left, albeit largely by process of elimination and the ability of Bellingham and Kane.

Luke Baker (Sports Live editor): Given all the options England have at their disposal, I think Foden should start on the left, with Bukayo Saka on the right and Jude Bellingham in the number 10 role. Then Declan Rice and ideally Trent Alexander-Arnold or Kobbie Mainoo (but let’s be honest, it will be Jordan Henderson) as a central midfield duo. England’s most likely route to European Championship glory is for Bellingham to grab the tournament by the scruff of the neck and genuinely throw himself into the ‘best men’s player in the world’ conversation, which has the best chance of success if he takes on a more advanced role plays rather than wasted as part of a double turn alongside Rice. For example, Foden – who played a strong role at Man City but still faces questions in an England shirt – shifts wide outside, where he can still be incredibly effective when drifting inside. Hopefully there will be a level of fluidity between him and Bellingham where he can still take on a more traditional number 10 role at points in the game.

Kieran Jackson (sports reporter): Tough decision but the priority must be Jude Bellingham in the number 10. The Real Madrid midfielder has boosted LaLiga by moving beyond the traditional number 8 role he played in at the World Cup and would generally be behind Harry must be deployed. Kane in Germany. As a result, certain starter Foden shifts to the left with Bukayo Saka on the right, although I think both could switch wings at different points during each match. If Saka is at all rested or injured, Foden should definitely be used on the right, cutting in the wand of a left foot.

Leave a Comment