PHIL FODEN is adamant he can handle the mental and physical demands of chasing SIX major trophies at once.
Playmaker Phil Foden sympathises with England manager Gareth Southgate for having so many exciting options ahead of the EurosCredit: Getty
Phil Foden and Jack Grealish are battling for places in Gareth Southgate’s England side amid huge competition from other atacking midfieldersCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd
Mason Mount, Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish are also contendersCredit: EPA
Foden, 20, is chasing an unprecedented Quadruple with City — and preparing for this summer’s Euros by beginning qualification for next year’s World Cup.
The little Mancunian maestro is firmly back in the England fold after being sent home in disgrace from Iceland, along with Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood, after smuggling girls into a hotel room last September.
Foden, who starred when England won the Under-17s World Cup in 2017, has enjoyed a breakthrough season for City — scoring 11 goals and becoming a more regular starter for boss Pep Guardiola.
Yet he still cannot be certain of a starting place for England when Southgate must choose just two of Foden, Jack Grealish, Mason Mount, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, James Maddison and a resurgent Jesse Lingard.
But Foden is expected to start in Albania tomorrow, after playing the second half of England’s 5-0 victory over San Marino on Thursday.
He said: “There are so many great talents in the attacking third.
“I feel sorry for Southgate having to pick only 11. All I can do is keep fighting for my place.
“There are places up for grabs. I am still only 20 and have got a lot to improve on — but I continue to work hard and I’m hopeful to go to a big tournament and do well.
Jesse Lingard’s loan form for West Ham and his energetic display against San Marino have thrust him back into serious contentionCredit: Getty
Leicester’s James Maddison also hopes to become an England regularCredit: Getty
Marcus Rashford is more of a typical frontline option for England than players like Foden, Grealish and MountCredit: PA
“That’s my aim. I have experience of playing in a final in the Under-17 World Cup and in big games, so I feel like I am ready to play in big tournaments and handle pressure.
“It is a challenge at City to play every couple of days — because we are in every competition and the manager has been rotating the squad a lot. But I’m always ready and I’ve got loads of energy.
“I think it comes naturally that as you get older, you get stronger. I do a little bit of gym but not too much.”
Foden says the fact that the Euros have been delayed by a year has boosted the hopes of himself, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Reece James — none of whom would have made Southgate’s squad last summer.
He added: “It has given us extra time to play at our clubs because we are all very young. So maybe it has helped us get the opportunity now. That appears to be the case.
“Hopefully we will win the league and maybe a couple more trophies.
“That would give me confidence to push on and be in the England team, for sure.
“You have to play games to get the experience. I try to keep playing in the biggest games and just become more developed in handling the ball.
Phil Foden says Man City boss Pep Guardiola is excellent at ensuring players don’t think too far ahead, even when they are chasing the QuadrupleCredit: Reuters
“It’s important to be consistent with your club — and I want to take that form into England.
“Some players in the past have struggled with performing for their clubs and England.”
Foden is happy to play out wide, as a No 10 or in a deeper midfield role for England, with Southgate refusing to tie him down to one position.
And asked whether he is playing with more confidence than at any time in his career, he answered: “Probably, yes.”
Foden admits City are thinking about sweeping the board.
Foden said: “Pep is really good with trying to not think too far ahead.
“He is always saying, ‘Just focus on the next game’.
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“But, for sure, the lads are going to think about it. It could be one of the best seasons in City’s history if we pull it off.
“Hopefully we win as many as possible — and then playing in the England team is the aim — so it would be great times for me.
“It’s been a big year. I’m playing more and improving my goal ratio, it’s something I can kick on from.”