Southgate backs Foden after redemption against Iceland and reflects on missing personnel


Southgate appreciation

England’s 4-0 victory over Iceland marked a first senior international goal for Phil Foden. The Manchester City starlet was sent home from the camp in Iceland after reportedly breaching quarantine rules.

However, he returned to the field to face Iceland at Wembley and recorded a brace. Gareth Southgate spoke afterwards of his admiration of Foden’s turnaround.

“I’m really pleased for him and his family, to have the experience he had in September is really tough for a youngster and we all make mistakes.”

“What we were intent on doing was making sure that when he came in this month in a difficult situation, you are walking in the door and you’re looking at everybody’s faces and you know the last time you saw them it was complicated,” said the England manager.

“It took him a few days I think to settle into the camp and start to smile and relax a bit more – then tonight we felt was a really good game for him.”

With the European Championships approaching quickly, Southgate has a wealth of attacking talent to choose from. Especially regarding the youth within the group and Southgate was quick to reference the excitement from that.

“I think we are very conscious of a crop of young players coming through that we think will be fabulous for England for years to come. I think it was great for the public to get a glimpse of that.”

Hopeful of returns

Southgate was without Raheem Sterling, James Ward-Prowse, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Marcus Rashford who pulled out with injury problems.

In combination with the controversies of the camp, the England international side has had to face several and significant challenges and the former Middlesbrough player and coach was aware of that.

“We’ve been very, very close to achieving the objective,” Southgate said.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 22: Raheem Sterling of England celebrates as he scores his team’s fourth goal and completes his hat trick during the 2020 UEFA European Championships Group A qualifying match between England and Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium on March 22, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

“But we’ve also got to recognise that there are lessons we have got to learn from this period. We created dramas for ourselves on and off the pitch, which made life more complicated.”

“We’ve been nowhere near the availability of all of our players and we have got to have a look at why that has been and reflect on that – so that is the balance really.”

The next opportunity to test the squad will be the last before the Euros. Friendlies and international play-off games are scheduled between March 22-30. Injuries and improvement could still occur in that time and Southgate will be keeping a keen eye on all the hopefuls.

Foden thanks Southgate for keeping faith in him after double against Iceland