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England need to move Phil Foden into midfield

Phil Foden should move from the wing into central midfield to realize his potential, says Kenny Cunningham.

Former Ireland captain Kenny Cunningham joined Joe Molloy on The Football Show to discuss Phil Foden.

Phil Foden was a key player for England at the World Cup.

Foden didn't start for Gareth Southgate's side initially, but he played well when given the opportunity. Raheem Sterling also departed during the competition for non-football reasons, which made Foden a key starter in the front three.

But Kenny Cunningham doesn't think Southgate picked his best team by starting Foden on the wing. Instead, he felt that Foden is not really a winger.

Foden plays on the wing for England and for Manchester City. He's established himself as one of the best young players in the world doing so. But Manchester City have Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne creating in central positions, whereas England don't.

Cunningham believes Foden should have played central midfield for England instead of on the wing.

"So for me that's where the difference is," Cunningham said.

"If you commit to a front five of Foden, for me in his best position which we very rarely see for Manchester City or England. Foden is an attacking midfielder or an attacking central midfield player. Everybody is saying it that he's done so well operating wide of a three for Manchester City.

"That's where he's bedded in, that's where Southgate has used him.

"For me this kid you're going to get an extra 20% out of this kid if you play him a little bit deeper in central midfield. Because what he's going to do Joe is pick the ball up deeper in central areas and get turned. When this kid is running at you with speed, he's unbelievable.

"And we don't see it from wider positions because he's coming from a higher position."

Foden isn't lazy. He is a very intelligent passer. And he understands how to find space in different areas of the field. Foden has every trait he needs to be a top tier number 10. But Southgate was too conservative.

That's because Southgate doesn't think outside the box but it's also because Southgate doesn't want to play too many creative players. That led to him picking Jordan Henderson and Declan Rice instead of putting Foden in with Rice and Jude Bellingham.

England missed an opportunity. A big opportunity. They needed something different, someone, different.They needed someone who could put fear into the France team the same way Kylian Mbappe did to England.

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England England World Cup France Gareth Southgate Ireland Phil Foden