Fabregas shuts down Richards’ Foden excuses as England star ‘needs to want it more’

Jason Soutar
Micah Richards and Cesc Fabregas discuss Phil Foden's performance for England v Serbia
Micah Richards and Cesc Fabregas discuss Phil Foden's performance for England v Serbia

Micah Richards wants to see Phil Foden of Manchester City performing for England after a disappointing display against Serbia in the Three Lions’ Euro 2024 opener.

Foden failed to stamp his authority on the game as England saw out a 1-0 win on Sunday evening.

Jude Bellingham was the best player on the park as he popped up everywhere, picking up the ball to spray passes from deep and digging in with tackles on the Serbians.

The Real Madrid superstar popped up with the only goal of the game, scoring a dominant header from Bukayo Saka’s deflected cross.

👉 Jude Bellingham’s England (just) beat Serbia: 16 Conclusions on an unnecessarily nervy opener
👉 England player ratings v Serbia: Bellingham runs the show, Kane quiet, Saka shows positive signs

Saka was another who performed for England but a lot of the post-match analysis was about Foden and his lack of impact.

Richards was desperate for the 24-year-old to shine. He said after the win: “The big talking point for me tonight was Phil Foden. I think the first 20 minutes he got into some really good positions. We need to find a way to get the best out of him.

He continued: “He wasn’t involved. At Manchester City we obviously know it’s choreographed with the system and the movements and all those sorts of things. But it makes me sad when I see a player of this quality just in and out of games.”

Former Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas was quick to chime in, noting the difference between Foden and Bellingham’s performances.

The ex-Arsenal captain said it is up to Foden to ‘impose himself’ as Bellingham did.

“Micah, I totally agree, but 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,” he said.

In response, Richards said: “I totally agree with you, but Jude, in the centre of the park, he can do that. Off the ball, [Foden] is coming from a wide position.

“It’s very difficult when Jude’s got the freedom of the pitch and Phil is having to go from pressing out wide, to coming in midfield. He’s playing with [Kieran] Trippier, who’s not left-footed, he needs [Luke] Shaw to go and overlap so he can get those combinations.

“It’s just sad to see because this season he’s been immense. Watch Man City every other week and the stuff that he’s doing for Man City we need to see it in an England shirt.”

As Richards argues that Foden is unable to shine in an England system without Luke Shaw, Fabregas shut down the former Man City right-back, claiming that the onus is on the player, not the coach.

“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.”

👉 Read next: Gareth Southgate is ‘poor man’s Moyes’ and Harry Kane is pointless…