Jack Grealish has insisted that England manager Gareth Southgate doesn’t have a problem with Phil Foden.
Despite being one of the star players in the England squad, Foden has played just 19 minutes at the World Cup so far and, to the bewilderment of many, didn’t feature in the goalless draw against the United States when Southgate’s side were in need of creativity.
However, Grealish is adamant that there isn’t an issue between Southgate and Foden.
Jack Grealish has insisted that Gareth Southgate doesn’t have a problem with Phil Foden
Grealish told BBC Sport: ‘People always used to say, ‘Ah, he’s got a problem with Jack’ last year or two years ago, and then I come on and it’s like, ‘Oh, he likes Jack now, who is it next?’.
‘And then I know people were saying, ‘He doesn’t like Madders (James Maddison)’ and now Madders is in, so it’s fine with him, and then Phil didn’t play, so it’s like, ‘He’s got a problem with Phil’.
‘He hasn’t got a problem with anyone. He speaks to all of us the same.
‘If you’re not playing – Phil didn’t play the other night – he’s still the same with Phil as he is with me, when I came on, or Harry Kane.
‘He’s not got a problem with anyone. If he did have a problem with someone, you’d know about it.’
Grealish believes that England’s attacking options are among the best at the World Cup
Grealish believes that England’s attacking options are amongst the best at the tournament, which makes it difficult for Southgate to select his team.
Grealish said: ‘You look at our attack and I’m not going to sit here and be big-headed and say we’ve got the best attack in the tournament, but it’s certainly up there.
‘You look at the seven or eight attacking players we have and everyone brings different stuff to the game, so it is difficult for the manager sometimes.’
Foden will hope to be involved when England conclude their group stage fixtures on Tuesday against Wales. A draw will be sufficient for England to progress to the knockout stages.
Southgate has yet to start Foden in either of England’s World Cup group games so far
At club level Foden has enjoyed an excellent season for Manchester City so far, scoring eight goals.
The 22-year-old has been capped by England on 19 occasions and is capable of playing in various positions behind the striker.
Southgate’s decision to persist with Mason Mount rather than Foden against the United States attracted a lot of criticism from supporters and pundits.
Gary Neville admitted that he was ‘struggling’ to understand why Foden was left on the bench and wondered whether his absence was due to an off-field issue, something which Grealish has subsequently made clear isn’t the case.
Gary Neville had questioned whether something had happened off the field with Foden
Neville told Sky Sports: ‘I’m struggling with Foden a little bit just because I think he’s our best player in the country by a mile.
‘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. 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 No 10 roles of Bellingham and Mount. Well that means that last night, Phil Foden was fifth-choice wide player for England.
‘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.’
Gorolive.com – The latest soccer highlights and football news