Barcelona and Spain legend Xavi Hernandez has showed praise on four Premier League players who have impressed him of late.
The former midfielder, who made over 1,000 professional appearances and won 28 major honours for club and country, is currently enjoying a successful stint as manager of Al-Sadd in Qatar.
He was able to watch a fair bit of Euro 2020 over the summer and was hugely impressed by a plethora of performers for England.
Going into the tournament, he hadn’t seen much of Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice but loved the way the pair played during the Three Lions’ superb run to the final.
“I have also been hugely impressed by the two midfielders, Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips,” Xavi said in an in-depth interview with The Times.
“I did not know them that well, but they were superb.”
After a 16-goal season, Manchester City’s Phil Foden didn’t quite light up the Euros like many had hoped and Xavi wishes he got to see more of the starlet on the big stage – describing him as an “unreal talent”.
“I think he is an unreal talent for a lot of reasons,” Xavi added.
“He has an amazing work rate, but also his decision-making is ace. He’s strong, quick, has a sense of goal, great passer and shooter… There’s everything in the pack.
“I would have loved to see more game time for Foden. When you have this number of talented players, all I can think of is putting them on the pitch. I understand it’s very tough to make changes with the squad Southgate had.
“There were a lot of options in his hands and only eleven could play. But it’s a pity to see so many special talents with not much playing time.”
Although he wasn’t always a regular starter, Jack Grealish also delivered in key moments for England and has now become the most expensive British player in history following his £100 million move to City.
Xavi, who played with the very best in the business, is a big fan of the former Aston Villa skipper – hailing his quality as “immense”.
Xavi: “@JackGrealish, another player that captivated me. His quality is immense…” [via @TimesSport / Exclusive]
— City Xtra (@City_Xtra) August 10, 2021