Gareth Southgate has chosen to disregard Phil Foden’s request to feature in central midfield.
Despite calls for Southgate to deploy Foden in a midfield role following England’s lackluster 1-1 draw with Ukraine, during which 33-year-old Jordan Henderson played the full 90 minutes, the 23-year-old has primarily been deployed on the wing. This positional choice aligns with how Foden has been utilized by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.
Indeed, the Three Lions boss said: “He doesn’t [play centrally] for his club, so presumably there’s a reason for that.
“You’d have to speak with Pep [Guardiola], the best coach in the world, who plays him from wide.
“He’s always got the freedom to drift if we play him wide and that’s important. It depends on the level of the game, really.”
Foden however, has long insisted he wants to play as a No 10 behind striker Erling Haaland and stressed in an interview earlier this month that he “can definitely” handle the extra responsibility of a central role.
When asked about his favourite position bySky Sports, Foden said: “I think the one I played in against Newcastle (midfield), that’s my favourite one, that’s where I feel comfortable.
“I felt alive in that game, I felt myself more and I could get on the ball and do things. That’s always been me as a player and hopefully, I can keep playing there and show people what I can do. It [the position] is one I can handle.
“There’s a lot of responsibility, it’s not just about going forward. You have to know what you’re doing defensively and know who is around you. But, it’s one that I can definitely do and I’m looking forward if I can play there more often, what I can do in there.”
Foden added: “We’re playing at one of the best teams in the world. You’re not guaranteed to play every game, even if you’ve done well in the last game. We’ve seen that with the manager we’ve got, he likes to rotate and use the full squad.
“Every game he’s got a different scenario and he picks different players for different games and you’ve got to respect his decision.
“I’m used to it but hopefully, I can keep playing a lot of football now because Kev [De Bruyne] is injured and I’m needed for the team. So I hope I can fulfil that position and try to do good things there.”