ECONOMY

Foden shows bright England future ahead as Southgate marks anniversary


While the temptation might have been to look back on a hugely successful five years under the England manager, Foden provided a reminder of a future that holds such promise in a 5-0 win against Andorra.

Foden was just 16 when Southgate took charge of his first Three Lions game and represented the rich vein of talent in the pipeline. 

At 21, he is still a work in progress, but already among the finest players of his generation.

It did not take a masterclass against Andorra to prove that – but Foden ensured a game of little consequence or, frankly, interest would be remembered for more than just the blaze that broke out inside the Estadi Nacional a day before this World Cup qualifier.

As stunning as the Pyrenees backdrop is, once night fell in Andorra, the onus was on the players on the pitch to provide the entertainment. And with the home side intent on keeping as many bodies between England and their goal, it was always going to be a case of how Southgate’s team would unlock them.

The fleet-footed Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka were selected to exploit small spaces, but in a game when England would enjoy almost total domination of possession, it was about how effectively they used the ball.

Foden was the man to take up that challenge and it was his incisive passing that opened Andorra up, with diagonal passes from infield that found gaps only the most visionary can see.

That was the case when finding the run of Sancho after 16 minutes.

The Manchester United winger turned the pass into the path of Ben Chilwell, who fired home. And after a lengthy VAR check he was allowed to celebrate his first international goal, which was originally ruled out for offside.

Andorra’s resolve had been broken early, which was important. Not that it would prompt them to deviate from their tactics – but would at least ensure frustration would not be an issue for England.

Foden’s next trick was even better. With a wave of his wand of a left foot, he swept a pass into the run of Saka.

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