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Micah Richards criticises Gareth Southgate's decision on Phil Foden

Published: Updated: 07:12, 18 Jun 2024
Man City legend thinks Southgate doesn’t know how to use Foden properly

Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards has expressed his discontent with England manager Gareth Southgate's decision to play Phil Foden out of position during the recent match against Serbia. The move, which saw Foden playing on the left wing, has been met with criticism from fans and pundits alike.

England kicked off their Euro 2024 campaign with a victory over Serbia on Sunday. Jude Bellingham’s early header proved to be the decisive factor separating the two teams. Despite starting strong, England seemed to lose momentum after the first half, inviting pressure from their Serbian counterparts and struggling to create opportunities to extend their lead.

Controversial decisions by Southgate

Southgate made some experimental decisions during this match, including positioning Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield. However, it was his use of Phil Foden that sparked controversy and drew ire from Richards.

Foden is a celebrated player who was named Premier League Player of the Season last year. His performance usually stands out due to his exceptional skills and ability to influence games positively for Manchester City.

However, during this game against Serbia, he faced criticism for an ineffective display which many attribute directly back to Southgate's decision not playing him in his natural position where he could leverage his strengths effectively.

Richards defends Foden

Richards passionately defended Phil Foden while placing blame squarely on Southgate's shoulders for what he perceives as mismanagement of player positions. He argued that by not utilizing players according to their strengths can lead them underperforming and facing undue criticism.

Football pundit, Micah Richards, said:

“Phillip Foden. Phillip f’ing Foden. I’m not going to swear because he doesn’t deserve it. What can you do? I told you it doesn’t work,” Richards argued on the Rest is Football podcast. “It works for Man City if he plays on the right or the left or the number 10 because of the rotation.

“You know how Pep sets up his sides. There’s going to be movement, rotation, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Grealish, Doku, whatever it may be alongside Haaland up front. I just think with England there’s not enough of that and he’s left, at times, isolated.

“Me and Cesc [Fabregas] had a really good debate afterwards. He said I was protecting {Foden], I wasn’t protecting Foden but it’s frustrating. I did feel for him.” 

“With Foden, it’s so disheartening to see a player of that quality being played out of position."

The debate around Southgate's decision-making continues to rage on among sports fans and pundits. It remains to be seen how this will impact future games, team morale, and the overall strategy of the England team as they progress further in their Euro 2024 matches forward.

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