Rooney: ‘Hard’ for ‘isolated’ Foden to ‘change’ for England

Date published: Monday 21st June 2021 10:25 - Lewis Oldham

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Wayne Rooney has suggested that it is “hard” for Phil Foden to go from playing for Manchester City to being “isolated” out wide for England.

The Man City star has started in both of England’s opening games at Euro 2020. He impressed in their first game against Croatia as he struck the post inside the first ten minutes.

But like many of his teammates, he struggled to make an impact against Scotland in their second game. Gareth Southgate‘s men underperformed as they drew 0-0 with their rivals at Wembley.


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England face the Czech Republic on Tuesday night in their final group game. They are currently level on four points with the Czechs and they will battle it out for the top spot in Group F.

In his column for The Times, Rooney suggested that Foden has been “moulded” into a Man City player, so it is difficult for him to adapt for England:

“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,” Rooney said.

“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.

“City play in the final third. They keep possession there. 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.”

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