Opinion: League Cup final performance suggests that Phil Foden is ready for key role with club and country
- After a great performance in the League Cup final, we look at why Phil Foden is now ready to shine for Manchester City and England.
England manager Gareth Southgate wasn't at the League Cup final, but if he had been at Wembley, he would have seen an English talent who should be a key part of his plans for UEFA Euro 2020.
It is no exaggeration to say that Phil Foden came of age with a performance that saw him awarded the Alan Hardaker Trophy for being named the Man of the Match. Starting on the right side of a front three, he played a crucial role in Manchester City's third successive League Cup triumph as the Citizens won 2-1 against Aston Villa.
Foden was central to everything good about Manchester City's performance. The 19-year-old claimed the assist for Sergio Aguero's opening goal, had a pass completion of over 90% and had five shots as he was a constant thorn in Aston Villa's side.
Foden also completely outshone Villa's star man, Jack Grealish, who is being widely touted for an England call up after his own recent impressive run of form.
Over the last three seasons, Foden's game time has been carefully managed by Pep Guardiola, as the Spanish manager seeks to balance the young English player's development with the need for Manchester City to challenge for trophies on multiple fronts.
His selection in yesterday's starting XI would suggest that Guardiola now thinks Foden is finally ready to assume more responsibility and his performance undoubtedly justified that faith in him.
In an ideal world, Southgate would want any player he picks for Euro 2020 to be playing regularly for their clubs which Foden has failed to do. Given the strength of City's squad, particularly in his favoured positions, he may still struggle for regular game time between now and the end of the season, but that shouldn't be held against him. Foden would walk into most other Premier League teams but is having to battle against some of the best players in the world for a place in the Manchester City side.
However, based on the evidence of yesterday, Southgate should make an exception for this special talent. England are absolutely crying out for a player who can play between the lines and unlock a defence. Southgate just doesn't have another player with the skills that Foden possesses and if he is serious about winning the Euro 2020, he simply must include the youngster in his final squad of players.
Also Read: Foden shows Guardiola the future is nowPublished 02 Mar 2020, 20:45 IST