Dubai: Phil Foden could be England’s next Paul Gascoigne — widely regarded as England’s greatest creative midfield talent — providing he gets more playing time at Manchester City or moves out on loan, according to former Southampton midfielder Matt le Tissier.
The 18-year-old midfielder scored his first senior goal away to Oxford United in the League Cup last month and is now on 17 appearances for City.
He was also part of England’s Under-17 World Cup winning squad in India last year, where he won Player of the Tournament.
Gareth Southgate has yet to call Foden into the senior side, but Le Tissier said the youngster is just what the World Cup semi-finalists need to turn them into European Champions.
“They are incredibly solid, but if they just stuck someone like a Gazza in there I think it would make it an outstanding football team,” said the Saints legend ahead of his participation in next Thursday’s DHL Swing Against Cancer charity golf event at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
“I think a lot of people feel that Phil Foden might be that kind of player, but you’ve got to make sure these players are given opportunities to show what they’ve got.
“Training with the quality of players he is training with day in day out at City is going to do him a lot of good and he’ll learn a lot, but ultimately once he’s learnt, he’s got to be able to put that experience into a competitive environment, and that’s the one thing that will make or break you.
“I think if he’s not going to get the game time at Man City then perhaps next season if he does go out on loan somewhere and get enough game time under his belt, I’m sure Gareth would be very interested in picking him.”
England managers have traditionally shied away from selecting flair players, with Le Tissier, who played just eight times for England, being a case in point. However, he said Southgate would buck the trend.
“I like to think he’s quite brave in giving youngsters a chance and putting players in the squad he believes in.
“If there was that type of player around he may well embrace it, because I think it’s the one thing we’re lacking and it showed in the World Cup semi-final where we needed that one player who can do something a little different to unlock a team in a tight game,” he added of the 2-1 defeat to Croatia.
Asked if he thought he would get in Southgate’s side nowadays, Le Tissier replied: “Yes, mainly because of the fact there are so little Englishmen to choose from.
“If I was scoring the volume of goals I was back in the day in today’s game then I think you’d be almost guaranteed a place in the England team.”
He also warned: “When we have so few to choose from, I think we try and rush these guys through a bit too early, when perhaps they are not quite ready for it, so we need to give these guys a bit of time.”
Le Tissier will join former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler and England batsman Ian Bell at the DHL Swing Against Cancer Golf Series finale at Jumeirah Golf Estates on November 1. Golf and evening only spaces are still available, email firstname.lastname@example.org to book your space.