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Published 27 June 2021 2 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Foden: 'I love the game'

Written by:

Dom Smith

Three Lions forward Phil Foden emphasises the importance of practice for young players

Phil Foden has explained how staying behind after training helps him to keep improving.

The England and Manchester City starlet has a reputation for being a supremely skilled footballer who plays as if he’s having a game with his mates.

And Foden, who has started in two of England’s EURO 2020 matches so far, was a special guest on Lions’ Den at the weekend where he explained that it was simply plenty of practising whenever he could that led him to where he is now.

“Growing up in Stockport, [I was] always out every day with a ball at my feet,” said Foden.

“That’s made me who I am — I just love the ball. Every time after training, I just love to stay out. The coaches have to drag me in off the pitch but I just love the game!”

Foden says he never wants to finish playing once training sessions end. “A few of the lads like to go in and rest up, but I like to stay out shooting and doing a few skills — whatever I can to improve.

"When I was a kid, I always used to go into the local car park every single day. I’d just spend hours practising.”

26 Jun 2021 25:00

Foden heads into Lions' Den

The England and Manchester City man opens up in Saturday's edition of Lions' Den

England have the third-youngest squad at the tournament, and are the only team in EUROs with no players aged over 31.

And Foden believes young footballers’ love for the sport could be a clue why Gareth Southgate’s side are so young compared to their competitors.

“It makes us who we are, just loving the game [since we were] young," he added. "So many young players in the squad and that’s probably why.”

Foden has been an emerging English talent that fans have looked out for ever since he won the Golden Ball for player at the tournament at the FIFA U17 World Cup at U17 in 2017.

England won that tournament in India, coming from behind to beat Spain by 5-2 in the final and Foden has fantastic memories of that competition, and how good it was for his development as a youth player.

“That moment playing in the final against Spain with a full stadium definitely helps for when you come into these big tournaments," he explained.

"You get used to the fans early on and know what it’s about.”

He certainly got used to performing on the biggest stage, scoring three goals including two in the final.

And Foden will hope to be involved again as England face Germany in the round of 16 at Wembley Stadium connected by EE on Tuesday (5pm BST), with the winners of that match heading into the quarter finals.