Pundit and former footballer Paul Robinson has expressed his puzzlement with England manager Gareth Southgate keeping Phil Foden out of the starting XI at the FIFA World Cup.
Foden came off the bench in the Three Lions’ first Group B match, a 6-2 win over IR Iran, before remaining on the bench for the 0-0 draw against the USA. The Manchester City star then started their final group-stage match against Wales and scored the second goal in the 3-0 win.
Former England goalkeeper Robinson has now echoed the sentiments and told Football Insider that the Manchester City star has to start against Senegal. He said:
“100 per cent. He has to keep him in the team. He is capable of playing anywhere. I cannot understand why a player that Pep Guardiola has described as ‘the best young player he has worked with’ struggles to get into the England team. He shows incredible talent every week at Man City.”
Robinson went on to say:
“Harry Kane and Foden are the best two players England have got. It is frustrating. I couldn’t believe it when he didn’t come on against the USA. I’m glad he got a game against Wales. I just hope he keeps his place. I’d play Foden over [Mason] Mount and [Raheem] Sterling.”
Prominent pundit and Manchester United legend Gary Neville was also left stunned by England manager Gareth Southgate‘s decision to initially bench Phil Foden at the FIFA World Cup.
Neville told Sky Sports:
“Phil Foden is a generational talent that I feel as though he has to play. I even woke up this morning thinking about Phil Foden, thinking: ‘Has something happened in training? Has something happened off the pitch which has meant that Gareth hasn’t seen what he wants to see?'”
“Because Gareth answered the question after the game that Phil Foden isn’t a player that plays in those midfield positions, those number 10 roles of Bellingham and Mount. Well, that means that last night, Phil Foden was fifth-choice wide player for England.”
The Three Lions managed to remain unbeaten in the group stage, picking up seven points from three matches. They will face Group A runners-up Senegal in the Round of 16 on Sunday, December 4, in search of a spot in the quarterfinals.
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