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Gareth Southgate explains decision to leave Phil Foden on bench vs USA

England head coach Gareth Southgate has opened up on his decision not to afford a single minute of playing time to Phil Foden on Friday night.

The Three Lions were of course back in action a short time ago.

Riding high on the back of a four-goal drubbing of Iran on opening day of the Qatar World Cup, Southgate and co. made the trip to the Al Bayt Stadium, for a showdown with the United States of America.

England headed into proceedings aware that a 2nd victory on the spin would see them secure a spot in the knockout rounds of world football’s biggest tournament, with a game to spare.

When all was said and done on Friday evening, though, an altogether underwhelming showing saw the heavy favourites forced to settle for a share of the spoils.

In fact, it was the United States who carved out the better of the opportunities, with Chelsea star Christian Pulisic having come particularly close in rattling the crossbar during the first-half.

The Three Lions simply weren’t up to par across the 90 minutes, with a glaring lack of impetus in the attacking third of particular concern.

Speaking to the media post-match, Gareth Southgate, in turn, was inevitably drawn on his bizarre decision not to introduce Manchester City star Phil Foden to the fray late on.

The stage appeared perfectly set for Foden – many of whom feel should have started – to emerge from the bench as a ‘super sub’ of sorts.

Southgate, though, has revealed that he felt the duo of Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford were more suited to the occasion:

“We thought it was the right thing to do, to keep the team from the start, and then the wide players we went with Jack [Grealish] and Marcus [Rashford] ahead of Phil [Foden],” England’s boss explained.

“We thought, Jack would keep the ball well for us and get us up the pitch and Marcus’ speed, we thought would also be a threat coming into that last part of the game.”

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Conor Laird

Die-hard Juventus fan with a love for all things Italian, and a real soft spot for Arsenal cult heroes. Emmanuel Eboue, Nicklas Bendtner, Philippe Senderos... Give them all statues outside the Emirates.

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