‘Stockport Gazza’ Phil Foden thanks Gareth Southgate for his second chance with England as Man City starlet admits he could have been left in the cold after breaking Covid rules with Mason Greenwood in Iceland
- England’s Phil Foden has channelled his inner Gazza with his new blonde haircut
- The Manchester City midfielder has been named PFA Young Player of the Year
- He has a similar buzz as Gazza at Euro ’96 going into this summer’s tournament
- But Foden is lucky to be involved after an incident in Iceland last September
- He is grateful that Gareth Southgate offered him a way back into the squad
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here.
Phil Foden was all beaming smiles as he channelled his inner Paul Gascoigne on Tuesday, unveiling a haircut and a peroxide colour that had echoes of the England legend from Euro 96.
The Manchester City star — fresh from being named PFA Young Player of the Year — has a buzz around him similar to the one that accompanied Gascoigne 25 years ago and he is desperate to be involved in Sunday’s opener against Croatia.
His performances in an England shirt in March certainly demand his inclusion.
Phil Foden spoke to the media on Tuesday ahead of England’s first match of Euro 2020
Is it time to start calling him the ‘Stockport Gazza’?
‘He’s a great player,’ Foden observed. ‘So I wouldn’t mind that at all!’
Beneath the laughing and joking, though, Foden was eager to make a point on the eve of the tournament about his good fortune in being included at all.
He knows, after all, that this story could have turned out very differently following events in Iceland last September.
Foden and Mason Greenwood, the Manchester United striker, were sent home from Reykjavik after breaching strict coronavirus protocols to sneak two local women into the team hotel.
Managers of a different disposition to Southgate could have held that against the 21-year-old but that was never the case with the current head coach.
Southgate was determined to help Foden learn from the experience, and it is something for which the midfielder is grateful.
Foden and Mason Greenwood were sent home by Gareth Southgate (left) after inviting Lara Clausen and Nadia Sif Lindal Gunnarsdottir (right) to the team hotel in Iceland in September
‘I made a massive mistake,’ said Foden. ‘But Gareth said if I keep doing well and performing I should get another opportunity.
‘I had to work hard for it but there are not many managers who would give you another opportunity, so I have to thank Gareth a lot for giving me another chance.
‘Gareth is great. He talks to everyone. He lets you know how he is feeling about you and where you can improve.
‘I’ve had a couple of conversations with him. He’s always putting his arm around players, which is important.’
Foden looked sharp in a six-a-side training session at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday that took place after England had beaten Romania 1-0.
It featured all of the City and Chelsea players who had appeared in the Champions League final the previous week.
That defeat in Porto is still gnawing at Foden, the sense that an opportunity was missed. But the best way to channel that disappointment is by helping England attempt to make history and go one step better than Gazza and Co managed in 1996.
Southgate wanted to help Foden learn from the experience and the youngster is now grateful
Foden played as City were beaten by Chelsea in the Champions League final last month
‘I feel the best way to forget about what happened is to play your football,’ said Foden.
‘So when I got back on the training pitch with the guys, I straight away forgot about it. I’m just focusing on England now and what’s going on here.
‘The quality of the squad is very high. We have got a lot of young players but they can play at the highest level and we’ve seen that this year.
‘Of course we’ve got experience like Jordan Henderson and Harry Kane around the team and that is important,’ he added.
‘I think we have a great balance in this squad and we look really strong heading into this tournament so why not?
‘We think we could win it. I don’t feel any pressure. I feel excited. It’s my first time at a major tournament with England, so I’m excited to see what happens. Let’s see what the future holds.’
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