CHRIS SUTTON: Foden must play in the middle, he's England's new Gazza!

CHRIS SUTTON: Phil Foden is the new Paul Gascoigne and the versatile star MUST be played centrally after display in Andorra… he’s three seconds ahead of the rest, just like Gazza!

  • Phil Foden was untouchable against Andorra, running the show from midfield
  • The Manchester City player has been used in a variety of positions so far 
  • He feels most comfortable in the middle and he’s primed for that role 
  • Foden is showing shades of what I saw from a young Paul Gascoigne  

I was a donkey on the football field, but Phil Foden? He’s a gazelle. He’s graceful in his movement. He glides with and without the ball and everything he does seems so effortless, so natural, so easy.

Like his assist for Bukayo Saka on Saturday night. Yes, it was against Andorra, but that doesn’t mean we cannot appreciate a perfect pass from an England player in a World Cup qualifier.

Besides, Foden can turn it on against the big sides, too. He was Manchester City’s most influential player at Anfield last week. His best position isn’t yet obvious, and that’s pretty exciting for England and City. He’s a versatile 21-year-old who is developing with each week.

Phil Foden had a phenomenal game against Andorra on Saturday in England’s qualifier 

The young midfielder is showing some of the qualities Paul Gascoigne dazzled with once 

Against Liverpool, Foden was a left-sided forward and he displayed such speed that James Milner was made to look a slouch, which he definitely isn’t. Against Andorra, he was on the left of midfield. In the centre of the park is where he can act as chief string-puller and that’s where Foden has said he enjoys playing the most.

England used Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips as a midfield two at Euro 2020, but Gareth Southgate’s side lacked creativity from that area against certain opponents.

Foden could stake a claim to start in central midfield in the future. That’s an experiment I’d like to see.

I remember watching a youth-team player called Paul Gascoigne at Carrow Road. It was a messy game but he was three seconds ahead of the rest.

Foden even copied Gazza’s bleached hairstyle for England’s incredible Euro 2020 run 

He made it look like he was playing in his back garden. It was all on his terms.

Foden invited any and all comparisons to Gazza when he bleached his hair blond in the summer and he isn’t so dissimilar in football terms.

But we need to see him strut his stuff in central midfield before we can officially anoint him the Stockport Gazza.

England beat Andorra with ease, effectively using a B-team. But Foden, Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and even Tammy Abraham, still only 24, showed the future is bright. 

Foden tore James Milner apart against Liverpool, showing the other side to his versatile game 

There is competition there. The senior pros shouldn’t expect to start for England ‘just because’. They have to earn it. They have to perform to stay at the top of the pecking order.

It will be intriguing to see if there is a role for Foden against Hungary tomorrow, and if so, where that role is. He has shown his versatility under Pep Guardiola, even being used as a false nine.

Southgate wants to see where he’s at his best because Foden is set to play a major part in England’s future.

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