“He’s our best player in the country by a mile” – Gary Neville fears ‘behind the scenes’ issue could be reason why Gareth Southgate has refused to involve Phil Foden in FIFA World Cup

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Gary Neville fears ‘behind the scenes’ issue could be reason why Gareth Southgate has refused to involve Phil Foden in FIFA World Cup

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has commented on Phil Foden's lack of involvement for England at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The former England right-back has insisted that the Manchester City star is the best English player at the moment.

Neville questioned manager Gareth Southgate's decision not to use a generational talent on a regular basis, comparing the situation to that of Paul Scholes. He has also admitted that he fears that something might have happened behind the scenes which has influenced Gareth Southgate's decision.

Neville told Sky Sports (via the Daily Mail):

"Phil Foden is a generational talent that I feel as though he has to play, he has to be played into form and it has to work with England. I went through my career with England where there were times where Paul Scholes was mishandled."

He continued:

"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."
Phil Foden created as many chances against the USA as Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount and Harry Kane.Phil Foden did not play...#FIFAWorldCup

Gary Neville claimed that Foden would be an assured starter for teams like Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Spain and France and added:

"You've got Saka and Sterling, and then you've got Grealish and Rashford that came on, and I like all four of those, so it's not a reflection on any four of those. But I have to say that those two number 10s, Bellingham and Mount, and those four, I do believe Phil Foden is the star amongst all of them."
"I do believe he's the most outstanding talent out of all of them, even though they've all got brilliant talent. Phil Foden is an amazing football player, someone that you just see once in a lifetime, I believe. He plays for Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, and I think he would be in the Argentina, Brazil, Spanish, French, German starting XIs."

Foden has been limited to just a cameo appearance against Iran in England's FIFA World Cup opener on 21 November. The flamboyant playmaker was an unused substitute for England in their 0-0 stalemate against the USA in their second group stage game of the FIFA World Cup on 25 November.

Jamie Carragher has questioned Gareth Southgate's treatment of England player at FIFA World Cup

Like Neville, Jamie Carragher has also questioned Southgate's decision to leave Foden on the bench during England's goalless draw against the USA at the FIFA World Cup. He wrote:

"The question was often asked whether the problem was Barnes or England. Surely it cannot be so difficult to accommodate a rare talent? It is imperative history does not repeat itself with Foden."
"Already, it is a shame he is not one of the first picks in the starting line-up, let alone the first go-to player from the bench. When Foden played in the last EUROs, you would have thought it certain he would be established in the side by now. Instead, others have jumped ahead of him."
Poor from England tonight but not a bad result with 1 game to play. Foden should have come on. #ENGUSA #FIFAWorldCup

England sit atop their FIFA World Cup group with four points and will take on neighbors Wales in their final group stage game on 29 November.

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Edited by Ritwik Kumar
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