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Foden ‘feels sorry’ for under-pressure Southgate

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England forward Phil Foden believes the players “need to take some of the blame” for the team’s performances at Euro 2024, expressing sympathy for the under-pressure manager, Gareth Southgate.

Southgate’s team advanced to the knockout stages by topping their group and defeating Slovakia in extra time in the last 16. However, their style of play has been criticized, raising questions about team selection and tactics.

“The players have got to take some of the blame,” said Foden.

“There has to be some leaders to get together and find out a solution to why it is not working.

“There is only so much the manager can do. He sets you up in a system and tells you how to press. If it is not going like that, you have to [work it out].”

When asked about the pressure on Southgate during the tournament and ahead of Saturday’s quarter-final against Switzerland (17:00 BST), the Manchester City player added, “I feel sorry for Gareth.”

Phil Foden, named both the Premier League’s Player of the Season and the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year for the 2023-24 campaign, was instrumental in Manchester City’s top-flight title win. However, he has struggled to replicate his Premier League form in Germany and has yet to score at Euro 2024. Reflecting on his performance, the 24-year-old acknowledged that he hasn’t showcased his Premier League prowess, but he remains optimistic, noting that he is making small improvements with each game. Foden mentioned that his aim has always been to deliver strong performances for the national team.

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He admitted that the first game was quiet with few opportunities, but he felt he grew in subsequent matches, coming close to scoring several times, including being offside against Slovakia and hitting the post against Denmark. Despite the challenges, Foden believes his performances have significantly improved and that criticism would be minimal if his efforts had resulted in goals. He also refuted claims that his tendency to drift inside from the left overlaps with Jude Bellingham’s position, insisting that they work well together. Foden explained that sometimes the dynamics of the game affect their synergy, but he felt they made significant progress in their last game, maintaining possession and applying pressure, and he remains hopeful that everything will soon click into place.

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