Gareth Southgate says Phil Foden failed to get off the bench in England’s 0-0 draw against USA as he would have struggled against their ‘strong midfield’.
The four-time Premier League winner has faced top midfield opposition both domestically and in the Champions League but played no part in England’s frustrating evening at the Al Bayt Stadium.
The 22-year-old, who has eight goals for Manchester City this season, came on for the last 19 minutes in the 6-2 win over Iran, but wasn’t thrown on with England in need of a goal against the resolute Americans.
England looked toothless in attack in the stalemate – despite the introductions of Jordan Henderson, Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford in the second half.
And Southgate has insisted that Foden would have struggled against Gregg Berhalter’s men, citing the necessary defensive duties as an area were Foden may have come up short.
Speaking to talkSPORT’s England correspondent Faye Carruthers, Southgate was asked whether he should have made any substitutions prior to the 68th minute, as well as being pressed as to why he overlooked Foden.
To which Southgate revealed he believes Foden wouldn’t have been able to impose himself against Juventus’ Weston McKennie, Valencia’s Yunus Musah and Leeds’ Tyler Adams.
He said: “I don’t know how early you think that should be.
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“But we decided for Marcus and Jack to change the two wingers [Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling].
“I didn’t think it was a game for Phil inside because there was a lot more defensive work, a very strong midfield you’re playing against.
“He doesn’t play there normally, we brought him on as a No.10 the other day, but it’s not a position he plays at his club.
“So there’s a reason for that, without the ball.
“But he’s a super player, we love him.
“We thought Marcus’ speed and Jack’s ability to be able to get hold of the ball and buy fouls and get us up the pitch just at a moment where we needed a bit of control in the game.”
England’s draw means they have been made to wait to progress into the knockout stages of the World Cup.
The Three Lions only need to avoid losing to Wales on Tuesday by four goals to ensure their place in the last-16.
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- Gareth Southgate explains ‘defensive work’ and USA’s ‘strong midfield’ were reasons why he didn’t play Phil Foden during stale England World Cup draw
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