Liga Super Malaysia World Cup

Gary Neville questions Gareth Southgate for denying England’s “best player”

Manchester City star Phil Foden has been excluded from the start in either of England’s opening two World Cup matches, which has left Manchester United legend and pundit Gary Neville critical of the choice.

Neville believes England boss Gareth Southgate is faltering by overlooking Phil Foden, which the pundit believes is the Three Lions squad’s “best talent by a mile”. Foden has been left on the bench for each of England’s opening two World Cup matches.

The Manchester City playmaker was on the bench until the 70th minute until he was introduced as England blazed through Iran 6-2 in their opening match of the tournament.

22-year-old Foden replaced Mason Mount in the opening group game but the latter was once again the
England manager’s choice  from the start in Friday night’s clash against the USA. That aside, Foden was also noticeably not among the first substitutes brought on as England labored against their opponents. Instead Jack Grealish and Jordan Henderson were the first substitutes to be introduced.

Foden’s exclusion from the England side has been lambasted by Neville, who lost no time to highlight that Foden was the squad’s most talented player and that he could not understand why he was not being included in Southgate’ side.

“I know Phil Foden isn’t playing but for Phil Foden not to be playing for England is a real shame because he’s a massive talent,” Neville said at the half-time break on ITV Sport. “I think he’s our best player, our best talent by a mile. He should be playing in that team.”

Neville’s fellow pundit Ian Wright waded in on he felt what was going wrong for England in their clash against the USA, in which they obviously lacked creativity: “Sometimes Mason Mount is getting over too quickly, leaving that space for Tyler Adams then they get out. Bukayo Saka going in leaving Antonee Robinson to go forward, we have to get it right.”

Neville added: “We had far too many passes at the back, didn’t get to midfield. Their midfield three have made ours looks sluggish, we spoke about (Jude) Bellingham before the game, Mount, they put a group of passes together and if you look at (Harry) Maguire on this (Weston McKennie chance), he’s really poor on this one, you’ve got to get that near post.

“Watch Maguire, he goes and marks which you can’t do that, you can’t do that. They was brighter, sharper, everything we were doing we wasn’t getting anything right. We know what a talent (Christian) Pulisic is, (Jordan) Pickford is beaten here, it’s massive wakeup call that first-half, they did that the other night and they did weaken so England will be hoping that happens here as well.”

What had begun for the Three Lions as a free-flowing opening day victory over Iran in which they scored six goals, England’s performance against the USA drastically paled in comparison with an acute lack of fluency in a team performance devoid of any attacking threat throughout.