JUST IN: Pep Guardiola Clash with Gareth Southgate on De Bruyne perfect alternative after Champions league show down

If Gareth Southgate still doubts Phil Foden’s ability to play through the middle, he simply needs to see England’s Champions League triumph over RB Leipzig on Tuesday.

Less than a month after Southgate suggested the Manchester City star wasn’t suited to a midfield role, Foden produced a man-of-the-match performance in Germany as the European champions won their second Champions League game of the season.
With Julian Alvarez starting on the bench, Foden was given a rare opportunity to shine in an offensive midfield role, and the former provided the first goal of the night in a 3-1 win. In addition to six shots, the 23-year-old made three important passes in an all-around outstanding performance.

FA may try and lure Pep Guardiola to replace Gareth Southgate after Euro  2024 - Mirror Online

Foden’s ability to start in midfield and push up alongside Erling Haaland was also crucial to City’s victory, since Rodri frequently advanced into the space in front of him. Furthermore, Foden’s fast feet, proclivity for maintaining possession, link-up play, and defensive output were all impressive.

Following Ilkay Gundogan’s summer move to Barcelona, Kevin De Bruyne’s long-term injury, and the inability to choose Rodri and Bernardo Silva in recent weeks, City’s midfield has been in flux this season. Despite this, Guardiola rested Mateo Kovacic, Matheus Nunes, Kalvin Phillips, and Alvarez against Leipzig, and chose Silva out wide, indicating his confidence in Foden’s ability to play in midfield.

Manchester City will extend Phil Foden's contract until 2028 | Marca

This was a different midfield to past seasons, or even so far in 2023/24, with fellow Mancunian Rico Lewis in the center. This was more dynamic and focused on moving the ball rapidly in tight spaces, with Rodri and the defense behind him retaining possession dominance.

Despite De Bruyne’s absence, City have a creative, attacking midfielder in Alvarez, and the Argentine’s 12-minute cameo demonstrated what a great skill Guardiola has at his disposal, as the Argentine provided a goal and an assist.

Kevin De Bruyne: Pep Guardiola says Man City midfielder will start against  RB Leipzig in Champions League | Football News | Sky Sports However, Foden’s performance should put to rest any notions that he lacks the vision or discipline to play in a central role, even if he is expected to play in more wide areas in the coming weeks and months.

City fans had little doubt that Foden was ready to take on a prominent role in midfield; now it’s just a matter of convincing his international manager.

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