It seems football is not yet coming home as England’s World Cup dream ended at the hands of Croatia last night. Despite taking a 1-0 lead the Three Lions could not find the necessary fortitude to win the game after extra-time, with Mario Mandzukic scoring the winner. But there is still great hope for the future and in Phil Foden, Manchester City may hold the key.
One area where England were lacking compared to their opponents was in midfield. Whilst Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard are both dynamic and abrasive and Jordan Henderson neat and tidy they did not have a world-beater in the middle of the park.
Croatia, on the other hand, did. Real Madrid star Luka Modric began to dictate play alongside the Barcelona pendulum Ivan Rakitic. With Marcelo Brozovic, arguably the best midfielder in Serie A post-January, also in midfield England could not get control of the game.
Which is where Foden comes in. The 18-year-old is the player that England were missing. The England under-17 World Champion and BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year from 2017 is the future of England’s midfield.
He won a Premier League winner’s medal last season and Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is a huge fan of his.
All the indications are that City will not loan Foden out next term. Instead, they plan to have him as part of the first-team squad.
If Manchester City can nurture his talent correctly then England will have that man in midfield who can create from nothing, find the incisive pass and provide for the players up top.
In four years time, he will be 22 and will have hopefully worked under Pep Guardiola for a number of years. Fitness and first-team football permitting, he could be the missing link that brings it home from Qatar in 2022.