Wayne Rooney believes that Phil Foden’s development at Manchester City makes him unsuitable for England under Gareth Southgate.
Foden thrived for City as Pep Guardiola’s side romped their way towards the Premier League title last season, scoring 16 goals and registering 10 assists in 50 games across all competitions.
That form saw him called up to Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2020, but he’s failed to replicate the productivity he’s shown at club level.
The 21-year-old hit the post in the first group stage match against Croatia before being replaced on 70 minutes by Marcus Rashford, and in their goalless draw with Scotland on Friday night, he was taken off for Jack Grealish on the hour mark.
England will now be looking to secure their place in the knockout stages as they take on Czech Republic tomorrow night, but Derby boss Rooney has urged Southgate to replace Foden with Jadon Sancho or Grealish due to their dribbling ability.
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He said in the Sunday Times: “City play in the final third. They keep possession there. And Foden is not a dribbler but a player who plays nice little passes and moves into good positions. At City, the movement of players around him enables it.
“You will see Kevin De Bruyne making a run into the inside channel, Kyle Walker running on Foden’s outside and Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez making movements infield, and it all happening at speed.
“City will play quick five-yard passes before a little movement — not a big one — will free Foden up and he has licence to go into the spaces and play as a No 9, at times, or No 10 at others. Whereas with England he is a bit isolated out wide and when he receives the ball, the possession is slow and there is little happening around him.
“That means he then has to dribble — and if you are playing in such a way that, from your wide players, dribbling is what is required then why not play Grealish and Jadon Sancho, two of the best at doing it.”
Rooney will be looking to turn his attention from the Euros to Derby over the next few weeks, with the Rams’ off-field situation still up in the air after narrowly avoiding relegation last season.
Certainly agree with Rooney here.
Whilst Foden is a creative player who can operate in such tight spaces in the final third for City, he doesn’t suit the way England play at all. When he plays on the right and hugs the touchline, he is ineffective.
Sancho more than deserves a chance given the way he’s performed in the Bundesliga over the last year, and Grealish’s ability to pick the ball up from deep and drive into the danger area should make him one of the first names on the teamsheet.