Phil Foden is a superstar who can shine for England at Euro 2020

Gareth Southgate et al. playing a game of football: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

It was late on Thursday night when Phil Foden came out with a sentence that made you do a double take. Usually, it's his ability with the ball that stops you in your tracks but, this time, it was a few short words in relation to his place in England's squad.

'There are so many great talents in the attacking third,' Foden noted, when he was asked about the clamour on Gareth Southgate to include him. 'So I feel sorry for him a bit, having to pick 11. It's very difficult. All I can do is keep fighting for my place.'

Sorry? In some ways, there was something endearing about the phrase. Many would have tried to pigeon-hole Foden as being young, selfish and arrogant after his much-publicised misdemeanour in Iceland last September but the reality is something different.

a man with a football ball on a field: Phil Foden has shown he can be a shining light for England at the European Championship © Provided by Daily Mail Phil Foden has shown he can be a shining light for England at the European Championship

He's quiet around the camp, respectful of Southgate's leadership and ready and willing to play when he is called upon. He wouldn't kick up a fuss in private if he is not in the starting line-up so it was never going to be a case of him saying something different when the tapes were rolling.

But if Foden feels sympathy for Southgate and the seemingly endless possibilities he has in attack, our sympathies should lie with the Manchester City midfielder from this point forward if he continues to be used off the bench.

Southgate has alluded to the fact he knows his starting line-up for when the European Championship begin, with a Wembley date against Croatia on June 14. From what we have seen, Foden's name must be included in that XI.

It's time to really get excited about this 20-year-old and appreciate this is someone who plays football a little bit differently. Don't worry about whether he can withstand the spotlight, he can deal with it alright - when he was 18, he was scoring goals that were helping City win the title.

a group of baseball players playing a football game: Foden's style is spontaneous, full of enthusiasm and it highlights his love of playing football © Provided by Daily Mail Foden's style is spontaneous, full of enthusiasm and it highlights his love of playing football

You may say that an ultimately comfortable 2-0 win in Tirana offers no comparison to what will becoming at England when this summer's tournament begins but there were so many flashes that made you believe Foden can be a shining light in June.


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Phil Foden is a superstar who can shine for England at Euro 2020