Gareth Southgate was questioned over his decision to leave Manchester City’s Phil Foden on the bench during England’s 0-0 draw with the USA.
England manager Gareth Southgate revealed that he felt the qualities of Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish were better suited than Phil Foden’s to change England’s fortunes against the USA.
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After a superb start against Iran earlier in the week, England’s World Cup hopes were brought down a peg or two during a dismal 0-0 draw against the USA on Friday night. England lacked a creative spark going forward, and were put under large swathes of pressure by Gregg Berhalter’s side.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag would have been mightily impressed with his club captain, as Harry Maguire was dominant in the air. The out of favour centre-back was arguably England’s best player on the night, as he played a vital role in preventing what could have been a potentially very embarrassing result.
As the game went on, the absence of Foden became more and more alarming, with many calling for the introduction of the City star to help unlock a stubborn USA defence. After the full-time whistle, Southgate explained what his side was missing, as he revealed why both Grealish and Rashford were favoured over Pep Guardiola’s man.
He told ITV: “We didn’t have that same zip [as against Iran]. That’s going to happen, it’s tournament football, we’re not just going to roll through and sweep through everyone where you have nights like that where you need to show different qualities to get a result
“We thought it was the right thing to do, to keep the team from the start, and then the wide players we went with Jack [Grealish] and Marcus [Rashford] ahead of Phil [Foden] on the changes. We thought, Jack would keep the ball well for us and get us up the pitch and Marcus’ speed, we thought would also be a threat coming into that last part of the game.”
Southgate later claimed in a press conference that Foden wasn’t brought on in a more central role because he is unfamiliar with playing centrally for City.