is shining for club and country in the way he glides across the pitch, ghosting past opponents as if they did not exist and picking inch perfect killer passes
Phil Foden has good reason to look back at the Euros with frustration.
Manchester City star Foden was kept out of the final through injury and did not get the chance to set the tournament alight.
But there can be no doubt Foden has the ability and quality to be one of the biggest stars at the next World Cup as England’s main man.
He is shining for club and country in the way he glides across the pitch, ghosting past opponents as if they did not exist and picking inch perfect killer passes. His deeper role in Andorra allowed him to run the entire game.
But that sense of disappointment after last summer probably gives Foden even more of an edge and determination for Qatar in just 13 months’ time.
England boss Gareth Southgate admits it was a tough conversation to have with Foden before the final but is convinced the 21-year-old’s time will come.
Southgate said: “We’ve known since 15, 16 what might be possible and we are seeing that. His evolution at his club has been perfect, really.
“For lots of us we were probably waiting for him to get established in that City team, you have to say that Pep Guardiola has managed that really well.
“He is flourishing. We know what is possible. It was a big blow for us when he was out of the final in the end. The fascinating part is what that role might be and it could be any one of a number, frankly, because he’s got the ability to play in many different positions.
“Let us just enjoy him, he is a special player without a doubt. let him grow into the team. We have to try and bed him in at the right time and get him positionally right for the right games. But we are delighted to have him.”
Southgate does recall that horrible moment when it was clear that Foden would miss the final. But also other setbacks, having decided not to risk him against Czech Republic on a yellow card with Mason Mount having to self isolate. There was a sense of what might have been.
“As a dad, you are talking to a 20-year-old kid and you know how much it meant to all those players to be involved in that game,” said Southgate.
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“So it is heart-breaking when you are sharing a moment like that with a player. It wasn’t a case of me having to rule him out. He just knew, he tried to run and knew it wasn’t going to be possible.
“Look, in football, you have to be resilient. From when they have been 12, 13, always been judged, always been assessed. He’s got that toughness. I don’t doubt that is ever going to be an issue for him. He has that in his make-up. Whatever is thrown his way he will be able to handle it.
“I don’t think the tournament went badly for him because I think he contributed well, but I think we know from what we’ve seen there’s another level and that experience of being in the big matches that he has already had with us, but also with his club can only help him.”
It was Foden who did the damage in Andorra, taking centre stage and, even though it is difficult to judge against second rate opposition, his quality was still there for all to see.
The fact Foden played all 90 minutes suggests that the plan was not to play him against Hungary on Tuesday but his performance was so sharp and so convincing that Southgate might think again.
It was an all-change England line-up against Andorra but there was still enough quality in there to give better opponents a game and several players did themselves no harm at all with their performances.
Jadon Sancho caught the eye with two assists, Jack Grealish scored and made a difference when he came on while Ben Chilwell scored and did well at left back.
Bukayo Saka was clinical with his finish while Tammy Abraham and James Ward-Prowse will both feel that by getting on the scoresheet that they made their mark.
England cannot qualify against Hungary on Tuesday but if they do not slip up then it should be a formality when they play Albania and San Marino next month.
Then there is 13 months until the start of the World Cup in Qatar and enough time for Foden and his generation to show they can help England go one step further this time.