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Pep Guardiola responds to Gareth Southgate over Phil Foden debate

Pep Guardiola responds to Gareth Southgate over Phil Foden debate

Pep Guardiola says Gareth Southgate knows he believes Phil Foden can play a central role for Manchester City and England.

Foden was a talking point over the course of the international break amid calls to bring him into midfield after the Three Lions contested a rather drab draw with Ukraine in a Euro 2024 qualifier played in Poland.

Southgate ignored the clamour to deploy the 23-year-old there for the trip to Hampden Park to play fierce rivals Scotland on Tuesday, highlighting the fact Guardiola uses Foden as a forward at club level.

“Well, he doesn’t [play there] for his club, so presumably there’s a reason for that,” he said. “It depends on the level of the game, really. Obviously in the middle of the park everybody wants to talk about them with the ball, but there’s a lot of detail without the ball.”

Foden then starred as England made light work of the Scots in Glasgow, scoring the opener in a 3-1 win, partly vindicating Southgate’s call.

Still, Guardiola has confirmed he is fully aware of Foden’s ability to play in central midfield.

"You cannot be one of the best if your mentality does not say you want to be one of the best,” he said on Friday.

"I have admiration for Gareth. It looks like I would disagree but I agree with him in the fact when we play outside, it’s a different role.

"He knows I know Phil can play in all the positions, middle or outside."