England star urged to ‘step up’ after doing what Iniesta, Xavi would ‘never’ v Serbia

Jason Soutar
Phil Foden needs to "step up", says Cesc Fabregas
Phil Foden needs to "step up", says Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas has urged Man City star Phil Foden to “step up” for England after a disappointing performance against Serbia on Sunday evening.

Foden struggled to get into the game as the Three Lions beat Serbia 1-0 to win their Euro 2024 opening fixture.

The Man City playmaker started on the left flank with Jude Bellingham through the middle behind Harry Kane, who had a very quiet night.

As Bellingham took the game by the scruff of the neck, contributing on the ball and with crunching tackles on the Serbians, Foden failed to impose himself and show us the form he had for City in the Premier League.

Outshone by Bellingham and Bukayo Saka, Foden needs to want the ball more and must “step up”, says former Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder Fabregas.

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“It’s about if you want the ball enough to make the difference,” he said. “Do you enjoy getting the ball under pressure?

“When England played their best football it was when Serbia allowed them to have the ball.

“In the second half when they start to get pressed a little bit more, we start to see Foden hitting the ball 40 yards without looking, Trent [Alexander-Arnold] too.

“You will never see Xavi or Andres Iniesta or the top players of the last 15 years do that. You need to take responsibility.

“I did think the second half was a little bit underwhelming, And I think players like Foden need to step up. This is the time for them to grow in big tournaments.”

Former Man City defender Micah Richards added that it disappoints him that England manager Gareth Southgate is unable to “get the best out of” Foden.

“It makes me sad that a player of his quality is just in and out of the game,” he said. “It’s just disappointing we’re not able to get the best out of him.”

Richards defended Foden after a disappointing performance against Serbia but Fabregas was not having it, saying that the onus is on the player to stamp his authority on matches.

The Spaniard said: “The same way that you see Jude imposing himself, wanting the ball, getting face to face against an opponent. He oozes this class. [Foden] needs to do that himself as well.

“I love that you try to defend him, seriously, I get your point totally,” he said.

“But a player of this class, of this level, of this talent, for me sometimes, he doesn’t even need to be told by the coach what he needs to do. He needs to want it more than the rest and for me today, it showed that Jude is a little bit above him in this regard.”

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