Former Manchester City forward Trevor Francis is stunned by Phil Foden’s talents.
Recalling his days in football, the 1981 signing claimed that Foden might be England’s most exciting talent since Paul Gascoigne.
“I remember when I moved from Glasgow Rangers to QPR and we had a game up at St James’ Park,” recalled the former City forward. “I was 34 or 35 at the time, and I was making my debut against Newcastle United.
“There was this young boy playing for Newcastle that day and on the coach back to London, I said to the manager, Jim Smith, ‘Jim, this young lad is going to go right to the very top’.
“It was Paul Gascoigne and he was maybe 20 at the time. I’d never played against anyone in my career with that kind of ability or seen anyone that good since George Best.
“Gascoigne was the most gifted young player I’d ever seen – and I’m feeling the same way about Phil Foden. I really like Foden and he is getting better and better.
“A few months back I was watching him when City played Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup and I can’t believe more wasn’t made of his performance that day.
“For a young boy to do what he did on a not particularly good playing surface, was fantastic.
“He took that game by the scruff of the neck and it was like he was a young kid in the playground saying: ‘this is my ball – and I’m going to take on the rest of you’.
“He took on Kevin De Bruyne’s mantle that afternoon and ran the game – and for a lad of 20 to do that, no matter who the opposition is, is incredible.
“I know it’s a game City were expected to win, but we needed somebody to step up because that tie was slipping away.
“That one run where he beat six or seven players was mesmeric and I just wish he would have scored because they would have shown it over and over again.
“I’ve never been so upbeat about the current crop of young English talent and I just hope Gareth Southgate utilises them.
“The majority are in midfield and Foden is among a group of exceptional talents that England fans are rightly getting excited about.
“We are blessed with some wonderful young players and Foden is one of the best.”