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Southgate hints 'super' Phil Foden will be handed World Cup start for England against Wales following fan backlash

13:19 EAT 28/11/2022
Phil Foden England 2022 World Cup
Gareth Southgate has hinted that “super” Phil Foden is in line to start for England against Wales amid mounting calls for him to be given a chance.
  • Man City star has only made the bench so far
  • Saw no minutes in goalless draw with USMNT
  • Changes could be made for final Group B clash

WHAT HAPPENED? The Manchester City midfielder has been named among the substitutes for the Three Lions’ opening two games at the 2022 World Cup, enjoying 19 minutes off the bench in a 6-2 victory over Iran. Foden played no part in a goalless draw with the United States, as England struggled for a creative spark, and Southgate has suggested that he will listen to calls for the talented 22-year-old to figure against Wales at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium on Tuesday.

WHAT THEY SAID: Southgate has told ITV Sport: "We love Phil, he is a super player. He was into the first game, we decided not to put him into the second. But he is going to play an important part in this tournament for us, there is no question about that. We haven't got any issue with Phil. In September he started both games for us and we put him into the game versus Iran."

"We decided to stick with that team and we felt the changes required something a little different for the USA. But we are intending to be here as long as we can. And he is a super player and we think the world of him. And he is going to play a big part. He can play off either wing. He can play as a false nine. He can play behind a striker, he doesn't do that as often for his club. He works hard for the team and of course he has fabulous technical ability."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: While Foden is in contention to make England’s next starting XI, Southgate insists he will not be making wholesale changes to a side that has collected four points from two games so far.

He added: “We will see. We want to win football matches and we want to try to top the group if we can. So we've got to make sure there is some consistency in what we do and our performances are healthy. There is always a balance of finding game time for players. But the priority is to win games, we have to win football matches. We are going to play a team who are wounded. Who are going to have very high motivation to beat us. We've got to be tactically correct and find our best level. We've got to make sure we are composed but also that we play with a real attacking vigour.”

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WHAT NEXT? England already have one foot in the last 16 at Qatar 2022 and know that anything other than a heavy defeat to the Welsh will see them progress out of Group B and into the knockout stages.