Football

Euro 2020: Phil Foden hits back at Gareth Southgate’s critics

Phil Foden's performances at international level have been adversely affected by his style of play at Manchester City according to Wayne Rooney, who insists that the England star is not a dribbler.

Phil Foden has defended Gareth Southgate after the England manager was criticised for his side’s spluttering start at Euro 2020.

Southgate’s team selections and tactics have been slammed in some quarters after England scored just once in their first two games.

Friday’s drab 0-0 draw against old rivals Scotland at Wembley ended with England booed off by their frustrated fans. The Three Lions have managed just three shots on target, leading to claims Southgate has failed to make the most of the talent as his disposal.

Despite their slow start, England head into Tuesday’s game against the Czech Republic knowing a win will clinch first place in Group D. And Manchester City forward Foden is adamant Southgate has no reason to listen to the doubters.

“He is a great coach. Working with him every day you get to see what he is like,” Foden told talkSPORT. “He always has the players’ backs and I believe that his tactics are great so all these negative people don’t know what they are talking about because Gareth is a great coach.

“I believe in my team-mates. I see us every day in training and how much the creative players create chances. I just feel like it is going to come in the next game and we are going to create more so I don’t see it as a concern at all.”

Foden enjoyed a fine campaign at City, scoring 16 goals and winning the Premier League and League Cup, as well as being named the young player of the season. The 21-year-old has so far been unable to carry that form into the Euros, but he rejected claims he is struggling to adapt to Southgate’s preferred formation.

“We don’t play a massively different sort of way, it is a similar formation so I think I am doing alright,” he said. “Obviously I can still do better but I believe I can just play for England like I play for my club.”

Foden has been sporting a bleached-blond haircut since arriving for England’s pre-tournament friendlies, sparking comparisons to England legend Paul Gascoigne’s appearance at Euro 96. Now Foden has persuaded the rest of the England squad to copy his eye-catching look if they win the tournament.

“Do you know what, I told the team that if we win it they have to get the same haircut as me and they all agreed,” Foden said. “Hopefully if we win it you will see everyone with the same haircut. I think Romania did it (at the 1998 World Cup) so I would make everyone get the same haircut, which would be funny.”

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