Southgate set to resist temptation to play Foden centrally for England

Gareth Southgate set to resist temptation to play Phil Foden in central midfield for England, as Three Lions boss reveals talks with Pep Guardiola about the Man City star’s best position

  • There have been calls for Phil Foden to play in a central position for England
  • Gareth Southgate has strongly hinted that he will keep playing Foden out wide
  • Southgate revealed he spoke with Pep Guardiola about Foden’s best position

Gareth Southgate has cast doubt over Phil Foden’s suitability to play in a central midfield role for England.

There has been clamour for Manchester City’s attacker to be handed a central position after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Ukraine.

But England manager Southgate — who revealed he has spoken to City manager Pep Guardiola about Foden — intimated he still views the 23-year-old as a wide player.

‘He doesn’t play there for his club, so presumably there is a reason for that,’ he said. ‘It depends on the level of the game, really.

‘In the middle of the park, everyone wants to talk about when you are with the ball but there is a lot of detail without the ball and games where you have to be spot on with pressing angles. If you don’t, you don’t get the flow of the game.

Phil Foden has struggled for game time in a central midfield position for England

Gareth Southgate has strongly hinted that this will not change, as he views Foden as a winger

Southgate has suggested Foden’s club manager Pep Guardiola also feels he is best suited to playing out wide

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‘You’d have to speak to Pep, who is the best coach in the world, who plays him wide. He’s always got the freedom to drift if we play him wide and that’s important.

‘We are very happy with Phil. He’s played in the Euros, came on in the semi-final of the Euros and had a big impact, he’s played in World Cups for us. He’s only 23 years old, he’s got amazing experience.

‘He is still progressing and learning but he is a super player.

‘But we’ve got a lot of really good young players so it has not been straight-forward. We have expectations of every player and he’s been with us from a young age. But he’s battling against Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford and all of the other players we have in that area.’


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