HomeFeatured ArticlesGareth Southgate heaps Praise on 'Brilliant' England Star

Gareth Southgate heaps Praise on ‘Brilliant’ England Star

Phil Foden’s Impact on England’s Euro 2024 Squad Selection

As the European Championships approach, England manager Gareth Southgate finds himself in a fortuitous position regarding his squad selection. The remarkable performances of Phil Foden this season have significantly lightened the decision-making burden. In an interview with William Hill at the FWA Footballer of the Year Awards, Southgate lauded Foden’s contributions and reflected on the journey ahead for England.

Phil Foden: A Season to Remember

Phil Foden’s form this season has been nothing short of spectacular. Southgate expressed his admiration for the young midfielder, stating, “Phil Foden has been fantastic. He’s played with a real freedom and confidence and he’s stepped up in some really important games. I’m absolutely delighted for him.” Foden’s ability to perform under pressure and his consistency in crucial matches have made him an invaluable asset for both his club and country.

Having been a standout player since his early days at St. George’s Park, Foden’s development has been closely watched by Southgate. “He started for us in the Euros and played every knockout game for us in the World Cup. We’ve known how good he is since he was in the age group teams and I remember seeing him at St. George’s Park as a 15-year-old. He was one of the players around whom there was a real buzz and although he was physically small, he survived against a lot of big lads at that age. He’s done exceptionally well,” Southgate recalled.

Photo: IMAGO

Southgate’s Selection Dilemma Made Simple

The abundance of talent in the England squad might seem like a selection headache, but Southgate views it as a positive challenge. “He has had a brilliant season which makes my job a lot easier. Having so many great players doesn’t make it a headache and in the end the players’ performances pick the team,” Southgate explained. This depth in quality allows Southgate to base his decisions purely on merit, ensuring that the best performers earn their place in the squad.

Foden’s brilliance is a testament to the strength and depth of England’s youth development programs. His seamless transition from youth teams to the senior squad highlights the effectiveness of the pathways in place, providing a blueprint for future stars.

England’s Quest for Greatness

Despite the plethora of talent, Southgate emphasized that true greatness for this England team will only be achieved through silverware. “We’ll only become a great team once we win something, so that is what we have to prove over the summer,” he stated. This summer’s European Championships present a golden opportunity for England to cement their status as one of the elite teams in world football.

Southgate’s tenure as manager has seen England come close to glory, and he is acutely aware of the expectations. “We understand the expectation and we’re one of the teams that can win it. There are also a lot of teams who can beat each other on any given day, but that is what the European Championships is all about. We’re very happy with our group of players and we’re really looking forward to the tournament.”

Southgate’s Reflection

As he nears eight years in charge, Southgate reflects on his journey and the privilege of managing England. “I’m fortunate to have been in the role for nearly eight years now, it has been an enormous privilege. We’ve all been waiting a long time to win a trophy and ultimately that is what we’re here to do. I’ve been fortunate enough to manage some of the biggest games in world football over the past few years and we want to be involved in a few more of those this summer.”

His tenure has been marked by significant progress and near misses, and the upcoming Euros represent another chapter in his quest for success. With players like Foden leading the charge, Southgate’s optimism is well-founded.

Phil Foden’s rise is a microcosm of the potential within the current England setup. His performances this season have not only made Southgate’s job easier but have also given fans hope of achieving long-awaited success. As the European Championships loom, England’s blend of youth, experience, and exceptional talent positions them as strong contenders. The stage is set for Southgate and his men to embark on a journey that could define their legacy.

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