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Wayne Rooney has suggested that Phil Foden’s footballing education at Manchester City has made it difficult for him to adapt to England’s style of play under Gareth Southgate.

On the back of a breakthrough season with City in which he was one of Pep Guardiola’s most impressive performers and was named PFA Young Player of the Year, Foden has become an integral part of Southgate’s England set-up.

He has started both of the Three Lions games at Euro 2020 so far, earning plaudits for his showing against Croatia but failing to make his mark against Scotland.

Foden wasn’t the only one to struggle against the Scots, with none of England’s attackers making an impact. He was the first to be substituted, however, swapping out for Jack Grealish with 63 minutes on the clock.

Phil Foden has had mixed fortunes at Euro 2020 so far
(Image: DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Writing in The Times , Rooney claimed that Foden’s schooling at City has made it difficult for him to excel in a team with a fundamentally different approach.

“I love Foden as a footballer but you have to realise that, for four years and more, he has been moulded into a City player,” he said.

“Pep Guardiola did not let him go on loan, or experience a different style of football – his whole adult career has been spent playing the Guardiola-City way.

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“It is hard for him to turn up and just change how he has been playing since the age of 16.

“City play in the final third. They keep possession there. Foden is not a dribbler but a player who plays nice little passes and moves into good positions. At City, the movement of players around him enables it.

“City will play quick five-yard passes before a little movement – not a big one – will free Foden up and he has licence to go into the spaces and play as a No 9, at times, or No 10 at others.

Should Foden start against the Czech Republic? Comment below

“Whereas with England he is a bit isolated out wide and when he receives the ball, the possession is slow and there is little happening around him.

“That means he then has to dribble – and if you are playing in such a way that, from your wide players, dribbling is what is required, then why not play Grealish and Jadon Sancho, two of the best at doing it.”

England face the Czech Republic in their final group game on Tuesday evening and, with widespread calls for either Grealish or Sancho to start, Southgate has a decision to make.

England need to win to finish top of Group D, with the Czechs currently ahead of them on goal difference.

Whoever wins the group will face the runners-up of Group F which, on current standings, would mean a last-16 meeting with Germany.

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