Phil Foden ‘is NOT a dribbler’ after being ‘moulded into a Man City player’, claims Wayne Rooney

Phil Foden ‘is NOT a dribbler’ after being ‘moulded into a Man City player’, claims Wayne Rooney – as England legend insists Gareth Southgate should use Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho instead 

  • Wayne Rooney believes Phil Foden is finding it difficult to play to England’s style
  • He thinks England’s set-up suits dribblers like Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho  
  • Foden has started both group games but has struggled to replicate his club form 
  • Rooney says he is not a dribbler and has been mouled as a Man City player  


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Wayne Rooney believes Phil Foden’s England performances are being hampered by the style of football he plays at Manchester City.

Foden has started both of the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 group games against Croatia and Scotland but has struggled to replicate the form he showed for Pep Guardiola’s side last season.

And Rooney thinks this is because he is being asked to play a different role for his country to the one he takes on for City, who play a possession-based style of attacking football.

Wayne Rooney believes Phil Foden's England performances are being hampered by the style of football he plays at Manchester City

Wayne Rooney believes Phil Foden’s England performances are being hampered by the style of football he plays at Manchester City

The forward has struggled to replicate his club form in the opening two Euro 2020 matches

The forward has struggled to replicate his club form in the opening two Euro 2020 matches

The forward has struggled to replicate his club form in the opening two Euro 2020 matches

In his column for The Times, Rooney said: ‘City play in the final third. They keep possession there. And Foden is not a dribbler but a player who plays nice little passes and moves into good positions. At City, the movement of players around him enables it. 

‘City will play quick five-yard passes before a little movement — not a big one — will free Foden up and he has licence to go into the spaces and play as a No 9, at times, or No 10 at others. Whereas with England he is a bit isolated out wide and when he receives the ball, the possession is slow and there is little happening around him.

‘That means he then has to dribble — and if you are playing in such a way that, from your wide players, dribbling is what is required then why not play Grealish and Jadon Sancho, two of the best at doing it. ‘

Rooney says Foden has been mouled as a Man City player which does not suit the style of football played by England

Rooney says Foden has been mouled as a Man City player which does not suit the style of football played by England

Rooney says Foden has been mouled as a Man City player which does not suit the style of football played by England

Foden managed 16 goals and 10 assists in all competitions last season and his performances saw him crowned PFA Young Player of the Year and he also received a nomination for the main award.

The 21-year-old came agonisingly close to opening the scoring in the first half against Croatia after cutting in from the right to fire an effort on to the post. He also saw a chance fly just wide against Scotland. 

But Rooney believes the hype surrounding the City star needs to be cooled and that he cannot be expected to ‘tear up’ an international tournament when his club team play a completely different brand of football. 

‘I love Foden as a footballer but you have to realise that, for four years and more, he has been moulded into a City player. 

The England legend says Jack Grealish should start the next game

The England legend says Jack Grealish should start the next game

He also thinks Jadon Sancho should be given a chance

He also thinks Jadon Sancho should be given a chance

The England legend believes Jack Grealish (left) and Jadon Sancho (right) are better dribblers and should be given a chance

Rooney says the City star should not be expected to 'tear up' an international tournament

Rooney says the City star should not be expected to 'tear up' an international tournament

Rooney says the City star should not be expected to ‘tear up’ an international tournament

‘Pep Guardiola did not let him go on loan, or experience a different style of football — his whole adult career has been spent playing the Guardiola/City way. It is hard for him to turn up and just change how he has been playing since the age of 16.’

England will play the Czech Republic in their final group game, with both teams having taken four points from their first two fixtures.

Croatia and Scotland both have a point meaning the group is still finely balanced going into the final matches. 

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