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Fans have dug out proof that Phil Foden can be the answer to Gareth Southgate's England problem

Fans have dug out proof that Phil Foden can be the answer to Gareth Southgate's England problem

Man City manager Pep Guardiola previously said Foden played "really well" in the position.

Pep Guardiola has previously claimed that Phil Foden can play in five different positions, including a role that could be utilised by Gareth Southgate at Euro 2024.

England go into the knockout stages of this summer's tournament with a problem; they lack a real attacking threat on the left.

Luke Shaw's lack of match fitness has forced Southgate to play Kieran Trippier on the left side of defence in group stage games against Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia.

A natural right-back, the Newcastle United defender is struggling to build a partnership with Phil Foden, who has also looked unusually quiet in attacking areas.

In fact, Foden has passed the ball more times to Jordan Pickford (3) than to Harry Kane (1) at Euro 2024 – a stat that proves something needs to change if England are to progress.

So how does Southgate fix this issue coming into their last-16 clash against either the Netherlands or the third-placed team in Group E?

Ian Wright has suggested dropping Bukayo Saka into left-back to provide a cutting edge in the final third.

"As great as Saka has done for England in terms of what he creates and his goals and assists, he is a natural left sided player," Wright told ITV.

"He started playing for England on the left at youth level, he started at Arsenal on the left. If that’s going to give you the balance and gets you Cole Palmer in the team, it’s something you have to at least look at.

"Yes, Kyle Walker can play there [at left-back], it’s the same situation where you have the player coming inside, you have no one going around. He’s a natural left-footer Saka, we could activate the whole left side."

England failed to score a single goal in the second-half of any of their group games as the issues on their left hand side became all too apparent.

Image credit: Getty
Image credit: Getty

The debate as to who Southgate will pick for Sunday's last-16 game is rife.

Even the idea of Phil Foden playing at left-back has been floated around online, with people bringing up some comments made by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola in 2022.

Speaking after a 6-3 win over Manchester United, he said Foden could play in five different positions, including at left-back.

"He can play in a lot of different positions," he said. "I think eventually he will end up playing centrally in my opinion.

"But in this moment in time it is maybe a little bit better for him on the wing to have more freedom and fewer instructions so he flows into the game.

"I eventually see him playing more centrally when he gets older and gets more stamina. It's all about little details to just find more consistency in the performances."

Guardiola added: "Phil can play in five positions. I would say he can even play as a left-back. He played a few minutes there at home and he played really well."

The Spaniard also said he would eventually like Foden to play as a holding midfielder. "For that, he needs to understand the game as a whole, in everything, not just 'me'," Guardiola added.

As you can see from the above graphic, a 17-year-old Foden played in a deeper role after being handed his full debut for Manchester City in their Champions League clash against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Southgate will more than likely rely on Foden in more advanced areas of the pitch going forward, but England certainly need to improve when it comes to overall attacking play.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images