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HomePremier League'Naturally-gifted' Foden compared to Zidane and Iniesta

‘Naturally-gifted’ Foden compared to Zidane and Iniesta

Jamie Carragher has called Phil Foden England’s most naturally-gifted footballer and has compared the Manchester City midfielder to Zinedine Zidane and Andres Iniesta.

Foden has been one of the stars of the season in the Premier League to collect a host of individual awards, including the FWA Footballer of the Year and Premier League Player of the Season.

The 23-year-old has scored 27 goals and laid on 11 assists in all competitions and has claimed his sixth Premier League winner’s medal at the Etihad.

 

However, question marks remain over Foden ahead of Euro 2024 with England this summer, where Gareth Southgate will look to coax the best from the midfielder and Jude Bellingham.

Foden is expected to be pushed into a wide role due to the presence of Real Madrid star Bellingham in the centre of the pitch, though Carragher believes that it is the former who is England’s most natural talent.

He said Foden’s close control and ability to dribble in tight areas of the pitch is reminiscent of World Cup-winning past greats including Zinedine Zidane and Andres Iniesta.

“Bellingham is a phenomenon, yet for me Foden is England’s most naturally-gifted footballer. I know how that will be taken by those cherry-picking parts of this column,” Carragher wrote in The Telegraph.

“To suggest Foden is a ‘better player’ will be made to sound like a criticism of Bellingham. It is far from it. You can prefer John Lennon’s songs to Paul McCartney’s and still admire the genius of both.

“Foden and Bellingham are different profiles of footballer, but there are aspects of the City player’s game which set him apart from anything England has ever had.

“Bellingham follows the tradition of complete, multi-dimensional midfielders. Tactically, he is a dream player for Southgate going into this summer’s tournament. He has excelled as a No 10 for Real, looked sensational when playing as a No 8 for Borussia Dortmund and you could see him playing as a No 6 later in his career.

“There is a swagger and self-confidence about Bellingham which has stood out since his England debut. Bellingham does not just walk on to a stage. He owns it. Wherever he has been – whether Wembley or the Bernabeu – his demeanour has been, ‘Look at me. I’m here, and I’m going to dominate’.

“With regards to Foden, I am not sure England have ever had a similar style of player of such a level. Foden has more in common with the typical Spanish or Portuguese players, his technique setting him apart.

“The highest praise I can offer is whenever I watch Foden and see that first touch, control and balletic movement in tight spaces, the first players who spring to mind are Zinedine Zidane and Andres Iniesta.

“Foden has that same talent to run in possession as if he is slaloming, his boots with a magnetic attraction to the ball.”

Read – Our Premier League end-of-season awards for 2023/24

See more – Ranking the five favourites to become Chelsea manager

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