England: How can Gareth Southgate get the most out of Man City star Phil Foden at the World Cup?

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Phil Foden DESTROYED Man United with a derby day hat-trick and has become a key cog for dominant Man City… but Gareth Southgate continues to fail to get his best for England – how can the Three Lions maximise one of their best talents at the World Cup?

  • Phil Foden has been sensational for his club side Manchester City this year 
  • He continued his purple patch with a hat-trick against local rivals United 
  • And attacking midfielder Foden scored again in a 4-0 win against Southampton 
  • Yet the 22-year-old looks a shadow of his club self when representing England 
  • Recently, there were suggestions that Foden shouldn’t start at the World Cup 
  • How can the Three Lions get the most out of him at the upcoming tournament?
  • Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates

Phil Foden’s sensational form for Manchester City poses yet another conundrum for England boss Gareth Southgate. 

The 22-year-old forward has looked out of place when representing the Three Lions in recent Nations League games, despite being a vital part of a breathtaking City side.

And his recent hat-trick in the Manchester derby, plus another goal in Saturday’s 4-0 win against Southampton, will do little to solve the problems facing Southgate, who had been encouraged to drop the City star for the upcoming tournament in Qatar. 

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England midfielder Phil Foden has been in inspired form for Manchester City in recent weeks 

National team manager Gareth Southgate is yet to get the best out of Foden for England

National team manager Gareth Southgate is yet to get the best out of Foden for England 

The 22-year-old lit up the pitch last Sunday afternoon, carving apart the Man United defence with ease on numerous occasions before going on to score three of City’s six goals on the day.

As a result of his own hat-trick, Foden made history as he reached 50 goals under Pep Guardiola at an even younger age than Lionel Messi did it at Barcelona – a testament to his outstanding ability.

In doing so, he brought his Premier League tally for the season up to five goals and two assists as he continued to prove himself essential within Pep Guardiola’s free-flowing system.

And no-one will be more relieved that he’s back to his best than Foden himself. After question marks were raised over his role in Southgate’s team, the City youngster has given the England boss a difficult decision to make.

The England international was instrumental in City's rampant win over rivals Man United

The England international was instrumental in City’s rampant win over rivals Man United

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Following England’s relegation from the Nations League Tier A, and dismal performances against Italy and Germany, Foden came under fire for his lack of influence in the games.

Having being named in Southgate’s starting line-up for both games, there were expectations that the City man would make his mark in at least one of their World Cup warm-ups. 

Yet, Foden blanked. Twice. No goals and no assists. To make matters worse, after he was hooked in the 66th minute against Germany, England looked a far better side.

The introduction of Bukayo Saka, who occupied the right-hand side where Foden had been, gave England a new lease of life as they notched three goals in 11 minutes against the Germans. 

Foden has struggled to emulate his club form during recent cameos for England (pictured)

Foden has struggled to emulate his club form during recent cameos for England (pictured)

Bukayo Saka had an impressive cameo on the wing against Germany after he replaced Foden

Bukayo Saka had an impressive cameo on the wing against Germany after he replaced Foden

It’s a strange conundrum for Southgate, and Foden, to face. Whether the England system doesn’t suit the player, or vice versa, is yet to be decided.

However, it’s hard to say that the England boss hasn’t tried to get the best out of the City No 47. Though he played against Italy and Germany from right wing, his most recent cameo before that saw him occupy a more central, ‘No 10’, role.

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That evidently didn’t work either. Foden entered the fray in the 68th minute with England 1-0 down against Hungary and just two minutes later, the visitors doubled their advantage. They ran out eventual 4-0 winners as England were embarrassed.

England's players, Foden included, look on in bemusement after losing 4-0 to Hungary

England’s players, Foden included, look on in bemusement after losing 4-0 to Hungary

It’s lead to fans and pundits calling for Foden to start Qatar from the bench, with Saka and Raheem Sterling seen by many as the best options out wide for England.

It seem nigh on impossible to fit all of England’s attacking outlets into one starting eleven and with Southgate unlikely to stray from his trusted five-at-the-back system, it leaves the City star, most likely, without a spot in the starting 11. 

It is somewhat cruel, but you have to look at the questions that’ll be raised. His talent? Undeniable. His commitment? Second to none. His ability to play as an out-and-out right winger in a rigid 5-2-3 system? Questionable.

And that might be what costs him come the World Cup opener against Iran on November 21. 

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