Why the time is now right for Phil Foden after his first senior England call-up

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Phil Foden has earned his first England senior call-up after being named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the upcoming Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the 20-year-old Manchester City midfielder.

Foden seems to have been on the radar for some time, why does his call up come now?

It is true that the Stockport-born youngster has been talked up for a few years now. He was a prodigious talent in the Manchester City Academy and starred in England’s Under-17 World Cup win in 2017. City manager Pep Guardiola, who famously worked with Lionel Messi at Barcelona said he is “most talented player I have ever seen in my career as a manager”. All that has held him back is a lack of top-level experience with Guardiola, blessed with a star-studded squad, using him only sparingly. That has changed in 2020 with Foden’s recent form irresistible. With David Silva winding down his City career, Foden, considered the Spaniard’s natural replacement, has featured more frequently and he has seized the opportunity.

Against whom has he caught the eye?

Foden scored twice against Burnley in July
Foden scored twice against Burnley in July (Michael Regan/NMC Pool)

Is he ready to pick up Silva’s mantle?

Foden (right) is seen as the natural successor to David Silva (left)
Foden (right) is seen as the natural successor to David Silva (left) (Nick Potts/PA)

How does he play?

Foden is a nimble operator, comfortable playing deep, ‘between the lines’ or in more advanced positions. He has an exceptional first touch, his control is assured and he is sharp on the turn. His awareness of team-mates and ability to pick them out is also impressive. He has a good range of passing but is also comfortable running at opponents. With an eye for goal that is becoming apparent, those who have reserved judgement on him because of his lack of his experience are becoming increasingly impressed.

A ‘legend’ in the making?

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