Phil Foden has admitted he made a “massive mistake” when breaching COVID-19 rules on international duty in Iceland last year and is grateful to manager Gareth Southgate for a chance to kickstart his England career.
The 21-year-old and Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood were both sent home from Reykjavik last September in disgrace after inviting two women into the team hotel hours after Foden made his senior debut in a 1-0 win over Iceland.
Foden was subsequently dropped for England’s next camp but was brought back into the fold in November, scoring twice against the same opposition while embarking on a breakthrough season at Manchester City which ended by winning the Premier League title and reaching the Champions League final.
“Obviously I made a massive mistake,” said Foden. “I was young. But Gareth said if I keep just doing well, keep performing, I should get another opportunity. So, I had to work really hard for that. There are not many managers that would give you another opportunity so I have to thank Gareth a lot for giving me another chance.”
Foden was also named PFA Young Player of the Year after scoring 16 goals and registering 10 assists in 50 games for City this season. Despite having just six caps to his name, the midfielder is now targeting glory with England and insists the relative inexperience of Southgate’s squad — they have the second youngest group at the finals — should not be a barrier to success.
“First of all, I want to say the quality is very high,” said Foden. “Yeah, we have got a lot of young players but they can play at the highest level and we’ve seen that this year.
“Of course, we have still got the experience of Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson around the team as well which is important. I think we have a great balance to the squad. We look really strong this tournament so why not? We could win it.”