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STEP UP? Foden’s Sassy Response Leaves Fabregas’ Criticism in the Dust

Foden’s Seven-Word Reply Perfectly Addresses Fabregas’ Criticism


Phil Foden, Manchester City forward, played the full 90 minutes in England’s Euro 2024 opener against Serbia but faced criticism for his performance.


The match saw a team effort with no standout performances. Jude Bellingham scored the lone goal, slightly outperforming his teammates, as England secured a crucial win in their Euro 2024 opener.


However, even in victory, England often seeks a scapegoat, and this time it was Phil Foden.


The Manchester City and Premier League Player of the Year started on the left, his usual position for City, and showed promise in the first half with sharp ball control.


Comparing this to his role at City, where Erling Haaland usually stretches the defense up front and Kevin De Bruyne roams the midfield, the expectations for Foden were high. Fans, pundits, and critics want Foden to replicate his City performances, but the system with England is entirely different. For example, Jordan Pickford frequently launched long goal kicks only for Serbia to regain possession.


This approach doesn’t suit Foden, who thrives with the ball played to his feet.


In reality, Foden was fortunate to stay on the pitch during a sluggish second half. By the game’s end, it was evident he wouldn’t be effective in attack, and England’s possession deteriorated as time passed. Substituting Foden for Jack Grealish, who could maintain possession, might have been a better choice.


After the match, Cesc Fabregas offered straightforward criticism of Foden in the BBC Studio. “It’s all about the mentality,” said the former Barcelona, Arsenal, and Spain midfielder.


“You can’t tell me that players like Trent [Alexander-Arnold], Foden, Bellingham, and [Declan] Rice lack the quality to hold the ball anywhere on the pitch.”

“It’s about do you want it enough to make a difference and hold the ball for your team? Do you want to make things happen? Do you enjoy to get the ball under pressure?

“You’ll never see Xavi, Iniesta, the top, top players in the last 15, 20, years, do that. You need to take this responsibility to grow. I think that the second half was a little bit underwhelming. I would say that is the right word. And I think players like Foden, they need to step up. This is the time for them to go into big tournament with their country behind them.”


Criticizing Foden based on a single subpar performance may be justified to some extent, but doubting his mindset after an exceptional season is unwarranted. Foden’s ability to rise to the occasion is precisely what earned him numerous individual accolades this year. One poor showing in a struggling England team facing a strong defense does not negate his accomplishments.


In response to the backlash, the England camp came to their defense. Bellingham highlighted that negative reactions often follow any England match. Southgate commented that perhaps enduring some hardship is necessary.


Foden took to Instagram and simply wrote: “Job done. Onto the next one.” Because that is what England did – they did exactly what they needed to, they are already well-placed to reach the knockout stages, and they are already looking forward. Six more dull 1-0 wins and England will be European champions.


Foden will have the chance to ‘step up’ in the coming month. The Serbia performance will soon be a distant memory, along with the exaggerated reactions that followed the final whistle.

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