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Southgate defends Foden’s display after critics blast his ‘restricted’ role

  /  autty

GARETH SOUTHGATE defended Phil Foden by hailing the under-fire England star’s ‘unsexy’ graft.

Boss Southgate held a team meeting to help Three Lions players deal with criticism with Foden targeted after Sunday’s 1-0 win over Serbia.

Foden, crowned Prem Player of the Season, had a quiet game but ran further than any of his team-mates and is set to be in an unchanged team against Denmark on Thursday night.

Southgate said: “Without Phil’s contribution without the ball — and I know that’s not the sexy bit — I don’t think we win against Serbia.

"Phil did an incredible job for the team. Others grabbed the attention, but the way he worked for the team - he defended spaces with real intelligence.

“He has set an incredibly high bar at Manchester City, where he knows exactly where every player is going to be every time he picks the ball up.

“With us, we’re always having to adapt to different team-mates.”
Foden, who has four goals in 35 England caps, put in a huge shift in Gelsenkirchen — covering 13.2km on the pitch.

But TV pundits Ian Wright was among those who gave Foden stick for not ‘getting into the game.’

And former Arsenal, Chelsea and Spain star Cesc Fabregas claimed Foden needed to impose himslef.

Speaking on BBC1, Fabregas said: ""Do you want to make things happen? Do you enjoy to get the ball under pressure?


"They allowed them to have the ball when they were deep once in the second half, straight away, when they started to get pressed a little bit more, we started to see Foden hitting the ball without looking 40 yards. Trent, this not like them.

"You'll never see Xavi, Iniesta, the top, top players in the last 15, 20, years, do that. You need to take this responsibility to grow."

And former England boss Sam Allardyce claimed that Southgate "restricted" Foden with his tactics against Serbia.

Speaking on the No Tippy Tappy Football podcast, he said: “I love watching Phil Foden. I’ve watched a lot of him at Manchester City and I truly believe that he was restricted in his role against Serbia.

"He wasn’t doing what he does for City, starting on the left and popping up in the centre, rotating his position. It seemed like he was made to stay wide on the left-hand side.

Asked about the criticism ahead of the game in Frankfurt, Southgate added: “I have to make sure I can guide them through that, let them understand it and recognise it’s the reality of our world but that we shouldn’t be thrown off track by it.

“This is a different world to the one you experience at clubs. The players recognise that. We talked with them about it.

“It’s very rare at their club they’d win a game and experience what they’ve experienced over the last couple of days.”

Kyle Walker has told his Manchester City team-mate to “rise up on big occasions” by firing the Three Lions to Euros glory.

He believes Foden should not be judged on one disappointing performance.

City skipper Walker said: “The manager had a brief talk with us (on Tuesday night).

"All eyes are on us boys over here representing our country.

“Phil is a great character. This is just another little thing he has to overcome when there is so much pressure on him now after such a great season - big players have to rise up on big occasions.

“I don't think one game defines a player. It's a season or a tournament that defines a player.

“There is going to be massive scrutiny on certain performances but we came away from the Serbia game with three points on the board, a clean sheet and in a good stead for this game against Denmark.”