Phil Foden clear to flourish for England as Southgate declares drama as "done"

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Phil Foden's only drama around this Iceland clash is seemingly taking a beating from his Gareth Southgate in a game of two-touch on the training pitch.

As the England boss said when he announced the squad for this month's trio of Three Lions games, the issue from September in Reykjavik was “done”.

Foden and Mason Greenwood's indiscretion of bringing two girls into the team hotel in Iceland was in the past, apparently.

But it still must have been a daunting experience for the 20-year-old Manchester City ace to return to the international set up in the last week after such a high-profile gaffe which forced him to be dropped for October's games.

“I made sure we chatted on the first day and put that behind us immediately,” said Three Lions boss Southgate.

“It was done once we had made the decision on the October squad. That was it.

“From then on it was always going to be a judgment on football.

“I'm sure for anybody walking back in initially that is going to feel a little bit… especially when you're young but definitely as the week has gone on he has been more relaxed.

“I gave him a bit of a hiding at two touch on Monday which he was probably a little bit upset about but he's in with the group.

“He's relaxed and that's what's important because to be able to play his football properly that's where everybody needs to be.”

Foden got half an hour in the friendly win over the Republic of Ireland last week.

But he could potentially complete his rehabilitation by starting for the second time for his country against Iceland again on Wednesday night in the return fixture of the one he caused so much controversy after.

“It has been good to have him back this week,” said Southgate.

“Phil has trained really well this week and it was good to get him into the game against Ireland.

“Given the players in the squad and the way it is emerging and evolved over the week, it will be good to get Phil into the game.

“I am sure he has relished the chance to be back with the squad, we know he is a very exciting talent and he is a player who we have a lot of belief in and who Manchester City have a lot of belief in.

“So this could be a good opportunity for him to show everybody what he can do really.”

Southgate was keen to emphasise that although this game at Wembley is a dead rubber in terms of Nations League progression, it still matters a lot and he won't pick players just because they haven't played in this round of fixtures.

But it will be a chance to surely see again what Foden can bring to the senior side going forward.

The question may be where he fits in to this England team with Jack Grealish impressing so much against Belgium and his role changing for City at times this season into a more advanced position.

“I think the beauty of the 3-4-3 for Phil and for Jack as well is that it gives them some freedom actually,” added Southgate.

“They can roam a bit in that and not be quite as chained to an area of the pitch.

“Those two 10s can be more fluid because there is stability behind them. I think that suits both of those players in particular.

“At the moment it is great for Phil to be playing and wherever he plays he will play well – he is a good player.

“The specifics of where he is going to end up as he continues to get stronger and more experienced will probably emerge over the next few years really.”

  • England Football Team
  • Manchester City FC
  • Gareth Southgate

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