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Foden: England wonderkids will ignore hype and past failures

The Man City wonderkid is preparing to make his boy at international level and he spoke about what inspired him to reach the top

Phil Foden thinks England‘s next generation are a group of players that can ignore the hype and the ghosts of the team’s past failures heading into Saturday’s Nations League match with Iceland.

The Manchester City youngster could be set to make his debut on Saturday against the team that humiliated England at Euro 2016.

The 20-year-old was watching the game at home with his family as he has since become part of an exciting generation of young English footballers, led by the likes of Jadon Sancho, Mason Greenwood and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Foden and the young Three Lions went onto win the Under-17s World Cup in 2017 before falling in the final of the European Championships during the same year. Foden believes those successes can help his side exorcise past English failures, although it isn’t something that he feels weighs heavy on Gareth Southgate’s group.

“I want to try and keep the shirt and play in England for many years,” Foden said ahead of his possible debut. “As a team, I feel we can go much further than we have in the past. I feel really confident in the way we’re going, the players that we’ve got.

“We need to start winning tournaments and I hope in the future we can do that. We’re a young team; nothing fazes us, we just go out and play our football. That’s a good thing; we don’t think too much.

“We can start controlling games now, we’ve got the players for that, and I’m just really confident for the future. It’s going to be good to see what England can do. I try not to read too much into it and just keep doing what I’m doing and play my football.

“If people like it, they do and if they don’t they don’t. I just try to come into the team and do what I do for my club, play my football and see where it goes. The medal from the World Cup is still in my cabinet at my parents’ house in the cabinet.

“I go there a lot. Sometimes I go past and look at the trophies I’ve won and go through them. It’s nice to go back and see what I’ve won sometimes. When you win youth tournaments, it can give you the experience to win things with the senior team.

“I definitely feel like winning the U17 World Cup helped me play on a big stage and not feel the pressure as much. I’ve played many big games for Man City now and I’ve learnt to deal with the pressure and the fans.”

With his immense technical gifts in midfield and ability to contribute both goals and assists, Foden has often been compared to his mentor David Silva.

Phil Foden David Silva Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2019-20

Foden hopes to replace Silva at Manchester City following his departure to Real Sociedad but with the Three Lions, he has different role models. Being a technical player himself, Foden used to watch old clips of former Newcastle, Tottenham and Lazio star Paul Gascoigne.

“Sometimes I watch old players, Paul Gascoigne was one of the best England players to play the game,” he added. “if they had the right coaches around them and play the right football, they could have won more trophies back in the day.

“I feel like we’re going in the right direction, playing the right football, the right way.”

Now, football-mad Foden is able to watch people he is close to doing well and he is looking forward to linking up with former Man City academy star Jadon Sancho once again. This comes after Sancho made a move to Dortmund for first-team football which has led to his rapid ascent.

“I watched Jadon when he went to Dortmund,” he added. “To do what he did at such a young age, there’s not many players who could’ve performed on that stage, at that level, and done so well. Definitely looked at what he was doing and was very impressed.

“There’s a lot of young players now playing at a high level and it seems like every year young players are playing more big games. It’s good to see young players making debuts and coming through. It just shows the academies have great coaches, teaching them the right things and helping them to go on and play in the first team.”

However, there is no one Foden looks up to more than Silva. He is hoping that the man nicknamed ‘Merlin’ for his magical skills by Man City fans returns to the club in a coaching capacity in the future.

“Yeah, definitely [he is my ultimate teacher],” he concluded. “I liked him ever since he came to the club and I got to watch him live in training so that’s probably the player I looked up to most and tried to learn from. I’m just sad that he’s gone now. Hopefully, he’ll be back as a coach one day.”

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