‘It’s such a big challenge’: Phil Foden admits England Under-21s face tough task as they aim to become European Champions
- Phil Foden says England Under-21s face tough test at European Championship
- Manchester City prospect is eager to add to his growing collection of medals
- Foden admits he tries not to focus on the pressure he is being placed under
Phil Foden believes it will be a harder task for England to become European Champions than it was for the side he captained to conquer the world.
The Manchester City midfielder has been touted as one of the players to watch in Italy by a variety of judges and there is confidence he will replicate the form that propelled him into the limelight, when he led the Under-17s to World Cup glory in October 2017.
Foden spent 15 minutes with the media ahead of Tuesday’s opening Group C game against France in Cesena and there was a candid moment when he innocently quipped that his trophy cabinet at home is ‘getting a bit full’ after a remarkable two years.
Phil Foden admits England Under-21s will face a tough task at the European Championship
His haul includes two Premier Leagues, two Carabao Cups plus the FA Cup but it is the gold medal that he brought back from India that particularly resonates.
Foden remembers the scale of the challenge England faced in the sub-continent but feels this will be a completely different test.
‘I’m excited, playing against great players with great players,’ said Foden.
‘It is such a big challenge for me and I can’t wait for the first game. It’s the same tempo, and I’m sure it will be even harder to win this tournament. There are lot of better players.
‘It takes a lot of heart and desire (to win a tournament), especially when you get into the later stages. You are playing the same team and you haven’t got the legs; you’ve just got to use your mind and heart and pull through it. A lot of heart and determination have to be used.
Foden revealed that he tries not to think about the expectations he finds himself under
‘I try not to look too much into (the expectation on me) because sometimes it can affect your performance; reading what people are saying might put pressure on you.
‘So I try not to think about it; I go in with a clear mind and play how I normally play the game.’
There is no question that Foden’s career will be keenly chartered, such is his natural ability and class, but having such talent means he will have great exposure and he candidly admitted that life in the public eye is challenging; to escape the ‘mither’, as he put it, he goes fishing with his father, Phil.
He knows there will be scrutiny along the way but the 19-year-old is ready for it.
He is also ready for the responsibility of leading England’s Under-21s in Italy and San Marino and will not be content unless he returns home with another medal.
Despite being just 19 years old, Foden has already won a host of medals in his career so far
‘Football can be hard sometimes, your form can drop and I’m sure it will – it happens to everyone,’ said Foden.
‘Maybe people get on your back but it happens. It’s part and parcel of football. I’m still young and have a lot of things to learn and there are going to be mistakes.
‘It’s all about learning each day and trying to get better. Sometimes I walk past and just have a look, and realise I’ve won a lot!
‘The World Cup was the first, biggest one and then I started winning trophies with City, cups and leagues. It’s hard to pick one! Every single one is special to me.
‘It’s all about keeping winning the next thing, once you win one thing, you want to win the next thing. For me, I just love winning. Every game I go into I just want to win it. It’s the excitement of winning. And that’s what I want to do.’
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