Gary Neville fears Phil Foden is being “mishandled” by England just like Manchester United legend Phil Scholes was during his playing career.
Foden did not start and he was not brought on as a substitute during England’s goalless draw against the United States on Friday night.
This was a pretty drab affair as The Three Lions appeared to settle for a point right from kick-off.
This draw leaves England top of Group B as they sit on four points. They are pretty much guaranteed a spot in the knockout stages of the World Cup, as a 4-0 defeat to Wales on Tuesday night is needed to end their 2022 campaign.
Gareth Southgate clearly had the bigger picture in mind when setting up his side for the draw against the USA.
But naturally, he has been criticised a lot in the hours following the stalemate. Jamie Carragher has bemoaned his decision to leave out Foden.
Now Neville has likened Foden to Scholes and claimed that he “has to play” for England.
“I am very nervous about placing criticism at Gareth’s door because of the job he’s done, the respect that I have for him,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“I think what he’s done with England is sensational.”
He continued: “But I am struggling with Foden a little bit, just because I think he’s the best player in this country by a mile.
“Phil Foden is a generational talent. I feel as though he has to play, he has to be played into form and it has to work with England.
“There were times during my career with England where players like Paul Scholes were mishandled.
“I woke up this morning thinking well has something happened in training or off the pitch that means Gareth is not seeing what he wants to see [from Foden].”
Neville later suggested that Foden would start for all of the best nations in the world.
“Gareth answered the question after the game that Foden isn’t a player who plays in those midfield positions. Those number ten roles of Jude Bellingham and Mason Mount,” Neville continued.
“That means then that last night Foden was England’s fifth-choice wide player. I like all four of those [Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford], but Foden is the star among all of them.
“They all have brilliant qualities but Foden is the outstanding talent out of them. He is an amazing footballer who you only see once in a lifetime.
“He plays for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and I think he would be in the [starting eleven] for Argentina, Brazil, Spain, France and Germany. That is the one thing I was struggling with.”