Phil Foden has earned the opportunity to start for England at the Euros


Phil Foden netted a hat-trick which proved to be the deciding factor against Aston Villa on Wednesday night. The homegrown talent is enjoying his best season to date and has clearly indicated that he is someone who can take on the mantle and step up when the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland are absent from Manchester City’s starting line up.

The sublime hat-trick, which involved a cleverly worked free-kick and another excellent finish from outside the box, summed up just how good Foden has been this season.

Phil Foden goes ???????????????????????????? Aston Villa’s wall for his first ever goal from a direct free kick for Manchester City ????

He has 12 Premier League goals this season. The most he’s ever scored in a single campaign.


— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) April 3, 2024

For someone who was being kept on the fringes of the first team by Jack Grealish in the treble winning campaign, Foden has been City’s most important player this season and could be the difference maker for England in the Euros. While a guaranteed member of the squad, and someone who will certainly get minutes on the pitch, there still seems to be some doubt around whether or not Foden will, or even should, be a starter in Germany.

While England fans take huge pride in the plethora of talent in the squad, there are some players that have to be non-negotiable starters. This means that some players miss out. James Maddison, Cole Palmer and Trent Alexander-Arnold are just some of the high level players who will have to settle for the junk minutes at best.

There are some players that are guaranteed names on the team sheet; Jordan Pickford, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Kyle Walker, Declan Rice, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane are all likely to be starting when it matters for England.

That list includes some world class footballers. But how many of them are as technically gifted as Foden? Harry Kane has shown that he is an elite finisher and someone who has a good all round game. Jude Bellingham has had an outstanding season in Madrid. Bukayo Saka has come on leaps and bounds since the penalty miss in the final of EURO 2020.

While football is all about opinions, it’s difficult to argue for any of those players having more natural talent than Foden. While many would put Bellingham ahead of him in that department, Foden has been doing it at the top level for much longer and isn’t blessed with the same athletic ability as that the former Borussia Dortmund player sometimes relies on. Bellingham is undoubtedly a world class player but Foden provides a different type of cutting edge that could be pivotal if England are to reach the promised land in Germany. They have also shown how well they can play together in the win against Scotland last year so it isn’t like the age-old debate about whether or not Lampard and Gerrard should have both been playing.

(Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

For some reason, it has never worked out for Foden with England and Gareth Southgate doesn’t appear to view Foden in the high regard that he does some of his other players. Playing in the middle of the park seems to be where Foden flourishes, with him performing to his best there this season. Playing him just off Harry Kane who likes to drop in deep sometimes should be something that Southgate strongly considers ahead of his last tournament as England manager. Southgate could set out his team more cautiously and use Bellingham as the sole attacking outlet from the middle of the park, with Rice playing alongside Conor Gallagher further back. Knowing Southgate, there is a world where Jordan Henderson starts alongside Rice. This would go down badly with the vast majority of England fans. An average footballer at best, Henderson is now clearly over the hill. While Gallagher has shown that he could be a good option to come on late in matches to grind out wins, it would feel like a waste of talent if he was to push Foden out of the starting line up.

Manchester was painted sky blue and Phil Foden was the artist ????️

He scores a double and runs the show, and another derby day goes the way of City.

It’s the feature match of the round thanks to @HungryJacksAU.#OptusSport

— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) March 4, 2024

If the England manager has visions for Foden to be playing on the wing, Saka will take the spot on the right side and Southgate has an abundance of options on the left. With Marcus Rashford, Grealish and the emergence of Anthony Gordon, Southgate is yet to show that he favours Foden in that position over the rest of them so it really is up in the air in regards to whether or not a player who is without doubt one of England’s brightest talents will be a key part of the manager’s plans.

While many will point to the fact Foden has never really done it in an England shirt, the same faith Terry Venables put in Alan Shearer at Euro 96 after the striker’s two year international goal drought should be given to Foden by Southgate as his form for Manchester City this season has warranted him the opportunity to show what he’s capable of.

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