‘Foden doesn’t play in the middle’ – Gareth Southgate takes dig at Man City star over preferred position and says ‘speak to Pep’ as he’s set to snub tactical switch

Phil Foden cannot play in midfield, according to England manager Gareth Southgate, who also advised anyone who disagrees to “speak to Pep” about it.

The Three Lions manager insisted he has not seen any evidence to play the Manchester City star anywhere other than from a wide position.

Gareth Southgate has claimed Phil Foden cannot play in midfield

.

Foden currently plays as a left winger for City and England

The 23-year-old is set to start against Scotland tonight at Hampden Park and has said many times his dream position would be in the heart of midfield.

Southgate has confirmed he’s discussed the issue with Foden’s Man City boss Pep Guardiola.

He said: “He doesn’t play in the middle for his club. So presumably there is a reason for that. It depends on the level of the game, really.

“You’d have to speak to Pep, who is the best coach in the world, who plays him from wide.

“He’s always got the freedom to drift if we play him wide and that’s important.”

When the 53-year-old heard Foden’s claim to be positioned in the middle he fired back with: “But he doesn’t play there!”

And on whether he has discussed it with Guardiola, he answered: “Yes, yes.”

Meanwhile, Kevin De Bruyne’s injury has given Foden a chance to fill in the middle spot for the Belgian.

He played impressively against Newcastle but this still did not change Southgate’s mind.

Southgate continued: “Newcastle, he played wide right and he drifted – Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez as nine and 10, Phil defended right-wing in a 4-4-2.

“He drifted in off the touchline with Kyle Walker going round him in possession.

“He definitely picked the ball up in those areas a lot, but his start position was wide on the right.

“I know it was a really eye-catching game and we were really pleased to see it but tactically and positionally it was him coming in from the right.”

Despite crushing Foden’s hopes of playing centrally for England, Southgate stressed how highly he still rates the 23-year-old and believes he can have a big impact on his team.

He added: “He’s played in the Euros, came on in the semi-final of the Euros and had a big impact, he’s played in World Cups for us, he’s only 23 years old, he’s got amazing experiences.

“He is still progressing and learning but he is a super player for us to have.”

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