Phil Foden is quickly establishing himself as one of the most influential young players in the world.
The Manchester City star had to be patient for his chance under Gareth Southgate at the World Cup in Qatar, but has certainly made up for lost time in his last two fixtures.
As well as grabbing a goal in the 3-0 win over Wales, Foden provided an assist in that match, a performance that earned him a place in the starting XI in the last-16 clash with Senegal.
And he repaid Gareth Southgate’s faith once more with another influential display, claiming two more assist in another 3-0 win for England to set up a quarter-final with France.
After Jordan Henderson’s opening goal, Foden played a perfect through ball for Harry Kane to slam home his first goal of this World Cup and give England a 2-0 half-time lead.
Then the 22-year-old created a third ten minutes into the second half when he rode a tackle before playing a low cross into the path of Bukayo Saka to grab his third goal of the tournament.
Foden is now the second youngest player (22 years and 190 days) to provide two assists in a World Cup knockout game since 1966.,
Only Brazilian legend Ronaldo, who grabbed two against Denmark in 1998 at the age of 21 years and 284 days, betters that.
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With England now into the quarter-finals of the World Cup, Foden will be looking to make his mark on the latter stages of the competition, something that Gary Neville and Roy Keane believe that he’s fully capable of.
Speaking about Foden before the match, Neville told ITV Sport: “I’m trying to think of a player over the last 20 or 30 years who I’ve played with who can take the ball on the half-turn, go past someone with acceleration but still keep their head up to release it at the right time and that’s Paul Gascoigne. He’s the only player.
“John Barnes could do it, but you’re talking about that level.
“If we don’t make Phil Foden work as a project for England we may as well all pack in. This is something sensational and he’s got that little bit of devil about him as well which is absolutely critical.”
Keane added: “He’s certainly got an edge to him. He’s had hassle with England and Southgate before in Iceland, so he’s got an edge which all top players have and he’s consistent.
“He affects games that he’s played at Man City, one of the best teams in the world.
“You look at the trophies he’s won and he affects games.
“I go back to Gareth and he’s got high-class problems to get these players into his team, but he’s got to get the balance right, of course.”
Keane added: “He brings high standards and expects to win football matches.”
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