Phil Foden tells Gareth Southgate his best position after Man City hat-trick | Football

Phil Foden bagged a hat-trick against Aston Villa (Photo: Getty)

Phil Foden says he prefers to pay centrally rather than out wide after the Manchester City star bagged a hat-trick against Aston Villa.

After an underwhelming goalless draw against Arsenal, City looked back to their old self on Wednesday night when they thumped Villa 4-1 at the Etihad.

With Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne benched, Foden stepped up to the mark to take his goal tally for the season to 21 – the best of his career so far.

The attacking midfielder is certain to start for England at Euro 2024, but Gareth Southgate has been reluctant to play him as a No.10, preferring a more solid midfield with Jude Bellingham in that role role instead.

Foden has been shifted over to the left-wing for his country, but the 23-year-old has now made it clear where his best position is, telling TNT Sports: ‘I seem to have some really technical players in the pockets and I think out wide I can do that job but I prefer in the middle.

‘I think this year I’m growing into the game. The manager [Pep Guardiola] spoke on showing rhythm and slowing the game down and I think I’m showing that as well.

‘He said before, “you’ll grow into that position”, because before I was just going so quick, attacking every action, and I think now I’m getting the balance just right.

‘I always now try and arrive in the box and I think that’s why the goals are happening. You get at least five a season by arriving in the box late.

‘So I’ve been working on all aspects on my game. I’ve still a lot to improve on and I’m still growing in that position.’

Rio Ferdinand has long called for Southgate to play Foden in the No.10 role, did so once again after the Villa match, saying: ‘The debate with the England team is that surely he has to play centrally, to get the best out of him he has to be in the middle.

Manchester City and England star Phil Foden

Foden has typically played out wide for England (Photo: Getty)

‘Get the clips of him in those central areas from tonight to Gareth Southgate and say, “Look, who else is doing this?”

‘For England, you’ve got to have Declan Rice holding with Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden ahead of him. The advanced eight/ten position is how all the top teams are playing now, so you put those two in there and they will work it out between them.

‘Phil Foden is a player who will find a way, his football intelligence levels are supremely high. Jude Bellingham is operating at a complete other level as well. You find a way to get those two players in because they are intelligent enough to find ways to compliment one another.

‘In the big games you need players that are going to manage and produce those big moments and Phil Foden is one of them.’

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