Brian Glanville: Phil Foden Needs First Team Football

The tale of 19-year-old Phil Foden might well be seen as a cautionary one. A significant anecdote involves the Sunday in 2018 when his club Manchester City won the Premier League title. Foden did not join in the subsequent celebrations and preferred to go fishing with his father in Stoke.

And at 17 he modestly felt too young to join such a party.

A midfield player of undoubted gifts, he still cannot command a regular first-team place. Last season he played a mere 13 times in the Premiership. Patience may as we know be a virtue but it can surely also be a danger. There are many who feel he is good enough not only to play for Manchester City but even for England but his confinement in the club reserves is bad news for England even if there are several excellent young wingers around and in the international squads.

Winger Jadon Sancho was strong minded enough, at the same age as Foden, to up stakes and play in the Bundesliga where his impressive success has hugely enlarged his transfer value.

Surely the sooner Foden leaves City for regular first-team football either at home or abroad the better it will be only for him but for the English game.

Modesty is all fine as well but it at times can be a danger.

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England’s manager Gareth Southgate had every right to lament the extinction of Bury with all its dire implications for a game which splashes millions in wages at the highest level but is in grievous peril of seeing more clubs from lower down go to the wall through overspending.

Southgate has called it a “tragic story” adding, “It’s like any business that goes under. That’s a massive blow for the families and the human part of that. Of course for the supporters for whom the club is a part of the community and a real sense of identity it’s a tragic story.”

Bolton Wanderers, with such a doughty record of FA Cups, came all too close to following the same fate and they have been substantially weakened on the field by losing key players.

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