Gary Neville and Roy Keane left baffled by Gareth Southgate’s decision not to bring on ‘HUGE talent’ Phil Foden with England crying out for creative magic in dour USA draw
Gary Neville and Roy Keane were left questioning why Phil Foden was not given a chance to shine as England were held to a 0-0 draw with USA in the 2022 World Cup.
The Three Lions produced a lacklustre performance in their second Group B fixture against USA, despite moving onto four points to all but ensure their progression into the knock-out stages.
Manchester City star Foden is often lauded as one of the top talents that the Three Lions possess, but he is yet to be handed an opportunity in Qatar.
ITV pundits Neville, Keane and Ian Wright were all left in shock that Gareth Southgate didn’t turn to the attacking midfielder in the later stages in a bid to chance the outcome.
The 22-year-old has become a key figure for Pep Guardiola’s City and has been in impressive form so far this campaign, notching eight goals and adding a further three assists.
But still there was no place for him throughout the entirety of Friday’s stalemate, as Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish were instead preferred off the bench, while Mason Mount was picked ahead of him in the starting line-up again.
Southgate also brought on Jordan Henderson in place of Jude Bellingham, a substitution which sparked confusion on social media.
Neville said: ‘Just sometimes our midfield didn’t click tonight, we looked tired at times. I didn’t think we were connecting in combinations in midfield, I thought their midfield were far better, and I was disappointed not to see Foden.
‘I know I mentioned it at half-time, but for me that talent is huge. I’ve not seen anything like that.
‘I know we’ve got Bellingham and Grealish and others, but Gareth prefers Mount, he prefers Saka, he prefers Sterling at the moment, but for me, for Foden not to be in and amongst that in a starting XI, and to not come off the bench, is interesting.’
Former Manchester United midfielder Keane fully agreed with Neville, insisting he was left astonished by Southgate’s decision not to utilise him from the bench.
‘We were surprised watching it,’ Keane said. ‘Obviously Gareth will have his reasons of course, he’s the manager and he knows the players better than anybody, but we were all surprised watching the game saying you’d fully expect Foden to come on.
‘The subs that come on didn’t really have an impact, I know they did well the other day, but England did look leggy, they looked one-paced.
‘Set-pieces you never thought they had something coming from that, so actually a terrible performance.’
‘But we have to give United States a lot of credit for the way they defended, I thought their midfield was very good, I think the only thing that they lack is a real threat upfront.’
The ITV pundits were certainly not the only ones calling for Foden to come on in Friday’s game, as former England striker Michael Owen led the criticism of Southgate’s decision to snub him on social media.
Owen wrote on Twitter: ‘Astonished that we’ve used 14 players so far yet our most talented player is still sat on the bench.’
Piers Morgan had the same issue with England’s drab draw and commented: ‘FFS…Foden.. Foden… Foden… bring on fricking Foden.’
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As did former England captain John Terry, who, speaking on beIN SPORTS, said: This was always going to be the toughest game in the group. I always thought it would be England, America, then anyone else after that.
‘It is still disappointing, especially after the way we played in the first game. [I’m disappointed we’ve not got on the scoresheet tonight and disappointed with some of the tactical changes, very negative from my point of view, I’d love to see us be more aggressive.
‘We spoke about Gareth, can he learn from his mistakes previously in them kind of things and for me personally I would have done things differently. How we’ve not seen Foden on the pitch tonight is beyond me.
‘He’s one of our best and biggest talents. I’d love to see him on the pitch. You throw him and Jack Grealish on, and Rashford and those guys, it excites people, it gives the team a lift.
‘These guys are big, big stars and they need to play football.’
Southgate came under fire on social media for his decision not to bring Foden off the bench
One wrote: ‘Mount over Foden is a war crime at this point,’ while another commented ‘Mount over Foden is criminal.’
Twitter user @brh1981 added: ‘To any normal person, Foden starts every single time. Just not if you’re Gareth Southgate.
Other people hit out at Southgate, with one writing: ‘ What’s Phil Foden done to upset Southgate! Shambles.’
Even a Manchester United fan joined in on the act as @erikslads said: ‘No Foden is shocking from Southgate! How do we have such a clueless manager in charge life’s not fair.’
Many will be calling for Foden to be given the nod when England take on Wales in their final group-stage match on Tuesday evening.
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