HomeEuro 2024EnglandJermain Defoe: Why Southgate Is 'Wasting' This England Star

Jermain Defoe: Why Southgate Is ‘Wasting’ This England Star

Jermain Defoe’s Take on Phil Foden and England’s Tactical Choices

Central Role for Phil Foden: A Missed Opportunity?

Monday 8th July 2024 – Former England striker Jermain Defoe has shared his views on the current usage of Manchester City’s Phil Foden in the national team, in an interview on William Hill’s Up Front with Simon Jordan podcast. Defoe expressed his belief that Gareth Southgate is not utilising Foden to his full potential by positioning him on the left wing rather than in a more central role.

“Phil Foden shouldn’t be playing on the left. He has to play between the lines and he has to be central. If they can get the ball to him in the right areas then he will cause damage, but I feel like he’s being wasted,” Defoe remarked. The comparison to Joe Cole’s earlier England career was striking, emphasising how players with creative flair can transform a game when placed in their ideal positions.

Criticism: A Tool for Improvement

Defoe didn’t shy away from addressing the criticism that has been directed at Southgate’s team during the tournament. He stressed that the players need to handle this criticism constructively rather than seeing it as an adversarial challenge.

“All footballers have egos and it hurts when you read something that you don’t like,” Defoe noted. “You have to use it in the right way. There’s no point coming out and having a war against the press because not too long ago the press were praising this England team. Years ago it was worse and recently they’ve been more positive about England. If you’re not playing well, what do you expect?”

His advice to the younger players is particularly pertinent, as he underscores the importance of resilience and the ability to turn negative feedback into motivation. “I see young players who can’t handle criticism, but it’s just people trying to prepare them for what the world of football is like,” he added.

The Unique Pressure of Playing for England

Having earned 57 caps for England, Defoe’s insights into the pressure that comes with playing for the national team are invaluable. He described it as a “different sort of pressure” but one that is ultimately rewarding.

“Playing for England is a different sort of pressure,” he explained. “But it’s a good pressure. If you’re playing for England, you’re one of the chosen ones. How many people would love to be in that position, representing England at a major tournament? You have to enjoy the moment because it’s what dreams are made of.”

Harry Kane: The Man for the Moment

Defoe was also keen to discuss Harry Kane’s role and the criticism that he has faced regarding his performance. Despite some calls for Kane to be rested or even dropped, Defoe is confident in Kane’s abilities and his importance to the team.

“Harry Kane is someone who I think will enjoy the pressure. There was a lot of noise about resting or dropping him, but you can’t. He can win you the game at any moment.”

Defoe’s analysis presents a thoughtful perspective on the tactical and psychological aspects of England’s game. His opinions, rooted in experience and observation, offer a blueprint for both players and fans on how to handle the high stakes of international football. Whether Gareth Southgate will heed this advice and reposition Phil Foden centrally remains to be seen, but Defoe’s comments certainly add weight to the growing calls for such a tactical shift.

More News