Today for the first time in over ten months, England manager Gareth Southgate had home-nation football fans on tender hooks. Southgate has selected his 24-man Three Lions squad for the upcoming UEFA Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark next month, and in doing so has gifted Manchester City midfielder, Phil Foden a maiden call up.
Out of action since securing qualification for Euro 2020 when beating Kosovo last November, England now have the chance to thrive in Group A2 of the Nations League.
With the aim of becoming the first England manager in 54 years to win a major tournament (the 1996 World Cup the last), Southgate handed maiden call-ups to Manchester United, forward Mason Greenwood, Leeds United midfielder, Kalvin Phillips as well as Foden.
Whilst Danny Ings makes headlines for having been recalled for the first time since his senior debut in a victory over Lithuania five years ago, Foden will light up the back pages as Pep Guardiola’s 20-year-old prodigy who finally has the chance to prove himself on the international stage.
Foden Makes the Step Up
Once referred to as the most talented youngster that City boss Guardiola had ever seen, Foden, who already has 15 caps for the England Under 21's, could well be given the opportunity to join teammates Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker on the pitch in both Reykjavik and Copenhagen.
Scoring on five occasions in contributing to City’s last 18 games of the Premier League season, Foden, who has shone since the return of top-flight football, was praised by his new national team manager.
Southgate's Seal of Approval
“We’ve watched Phil for a long time,” Southgate said today in his press conference.
“We felt at times last year that it was better for him to get football with our under 21s. There were moments where he wasn’t getting regular game time. We’ve known that Phil was a player likely to be involved with the England senior team and we feel now is a good moment to include him.”
Foden himself tweeted that: “It’s an honour to be called up! Can’t wait to pull that England shirt on!!”
From winning the Under-17 World Cup with England in 2017 to joining the big boys three years later, City’s natural replacement for David Silva will now accompany 23 of the country’s most talented players when representing the Three Lions over the next three weeks.
England squad to face Iceland and Denmark:
Phil Foden (Manchester City), Tammy Abraham (Chelsea), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Danny Ings (Southampton), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Declan Rice (West Ham United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atlético Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur)