Phil Foden Should Leave Manchester City | Brian Glanville
It was all of 82 minutes before Manchester City, grinding a severely outplayed Huddersfield Town into the dust, finally sent on the gifted and precocious teenager Phil Foden. You could hardly say that he had been missed since City romped their way towards half a dozen goals. But the player himself, after giving such an impressive display in the Communications Shield, or whatever it calls itself at Wembley, must surely have been disappointed to have been thus marginalised. He, and we too, may legitimately be asking what will happen to him during the rest of a season where he had begun so brightly.
Even with the unfortunate Kevin De Bruyne dropping out for weeks with a dismal injury picked up in training, Foden was not called upon to start the game or indeed to enter it until very late on. If this is going to continue happening you must feel, and so alas might he, that going out on loan is the only valid solution. City already look powerful contenders for a second consecutive title having won the last one at a canter. But if they don’t need Foden then surely England do. Young players of his skill and inventive quality are pitifully thin on the ground.
Which brings to the further question of Ruben Loftus Cheek. He was outstanding for England but was largely ignored by England manager Southgate. Last season after recovering from a serious injury he excelled on loan at Crystal Palace, tall and strong, the motor of midfield. But now Chelsea have taken him back from his loan and all the depressing signs are that he is going to find it difficult to win a regular place in a team which can call on so many expensive and talented players. Again this is arguably a player who should go out on loan. Languishing outside the first team will neither do him nor the current England squad any good.
How to account for the astonishing second half collapse of Queens Park Rangers and West Bromwich Albion when they concede an avalanche of goals and went down 7-1? Nothing in their opening three games had prepared one for this debacle. They had lost by the only goal of the game at Preston and in a match I saw at Shepherds Bush, were arguably a trifle unlucky to lose by the odd goal to Sheffield United. Which was followed by a comfortable win in that superfluity the League Cup or whatever it is known as now.
Having gone into £40 million debt to the Football League, they are now enduring a transfer ban. Meanwhile I have limited confidence in the managerial abilities of the man once known cruelly as The Wolly With The Brolly in his unhappy days as over promoted manager of England: Steve McLaren. His friendship with the club’s owner Tony Fernandes seems to have played a crucial part in his appointment. I think QPR would have done better to enlist a much younger manager with something to prove. Not that all the blame for their dismal collapse at the Hawthorns can be dumped on McLaren. I have yet to see a cogent analysis, indeed any analysis at all, of just what went so horribly defensively amiss in that disastrous second half.
Whatever has gone so shockingly wrong at Manchester United, now humiliated by a Brighton team which had made an unhappy beginning to the new season? At Brighton, United were far more comprehensively beaten than the 3-2 score line suggests. That Jose Mourinho as well as his faltering team has lost his way seems beyond despute. Jose Mourinho is very emphatically a big part of the problem, spending so much of the close season lamenting that he was not able to use so many of the players he wanted. At Brighton there was an embarrassing litany of poor performances, even that accomplished goalkeeper David De Gea was seriously out of sorts. So indeed, once again, was Mourinho himself. All that summer pessimism hasn’t helped him.