Saturday, June 22, 2024

Euro 2024: Phil Foden must play in a central midfield role for England, say Gary Neville and Jamie Redknapp

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Gary Neville and Jamie Redknapp both believe Phil Foden must play in a central midfield role for England at Euro 2024, adding it will be a “waste” and a “regret” if he plays out wide.

Foden guided Manchester City to a fourth-straight Premier League trophy on Sunday with two goals in their 3-1 title-deciding victory over West Ham, taking his season tally to 27 goals and 11 assists for the campaign.

The 23-year-old dazzled in an attacking midfield position for City, but the situation has been very different for Gareth Southgate’s England, where nine out of Foden’s last 11 appearances have come out wide.

Asked about where the City starlet fits in Southgate’s squad, Redknapp told Sky Sports: “He has proven this season, he has to play in midfield.

Did you know?

Phil Foden has scored six goals from outside the box in the Premier League this season, the most of any player, and the most ever by a Man City player in a single campaign. It is the most by a player for any team in the competition since 2018-19, when Christian Eriksen also scored six.

“He is unique, we don’t produce players like this in this country: players who can receive the ball on the half turn, tight spaces, weave away from people and shoot from distance.

“It will be a waste of his talent if we decide to play him wide. He has to be on the ball, alongside Jude Bellingham and then you have Declan Rice. You have to get him where he is at his best. If you don’t, it will be a crying shame.

“Gareth has to play with people like him and give him the opportunity like Pep has. It will be brave and it will be a risk, it’s not really in his DNA to play this way. This is the time for the best talents in world football.”

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Phil Foden’s best Premier League goals and assists so far this season

Neville, meanwhile, compared the situation to when England played Paul Scholes in a left-wing position at Euro 2004 under Sven-Goran Eriksson, to accommodate Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in midfield.

“I do agree with Jamie,” Neville added. “I never thought this when I was playing for England and used to see Paul Scholes going off the left hand side.

“When I look back now it’s a regret that we didn’t get to see the most technically gifted player in his best position. This is, technically, the best English football player and we will regret it if we don’t play him in his best position.

Foden has played 53 per cent of his England minutes on the right wing, compared to 44 per cent as a midfielder
Foden has played 53 per cent of his England minutes on the right wing, compared to 44 per cent as a midfielder

“That means some difficult decisions have to be made but we can’t make the same mistakes with Foden that we did with Paul Scholes.”

Sky Sports writers pick their England Euro 2024 squads

Euro 2024 is just around the corner, which means Gareth Southgate is getting ready to announce his England squad for the tournament in Germany.

Southgate is expected to name a provisional squad on Tuesday, consisting of 30+ players before officially naming his 26-man squad for the tournament before UEFA’s deadline of June 7.

Our writers delivered their picks in March, but UEFA has now expanded the squad size to 26 which changes things. Southgate has three more spaces to play with, but who will this benefit?

England’s fixtures before Euro 2024

Monday June 3: England vs Bosnia and Herzegovina – kick-off 7.45pm

Friday June 7: England vs Iceland – kick-off 7.45pm

England’s Euro 2024 fixtures

Sunday June 16 – Group C: Serbia vs England (Arena AufSchalke, Gelsenkirchen – kick-off 8pm UK time)

Thursday June 20 – Group C: Denmark vs England (Waldstadion, Frankfurt – kick-off 5pm UK time)

Tuesday June 25 – Group C: England vs Slovenia (RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne – kick-off 8pm UK time)

Euro 2024 key dates

June 14, 2024: Euro 2024 opening game, Allianz Arena (Munich)
June 30 – July 2: Round of 16
July 5-6: Quarter-finals
July 9-10, 2024: Semi-finals
July 14, 2024: Euro 2024 final, Olympiastadion (Berlin)

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