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FIFA World Cup 2022: Wayne Rooney names the player England must start in the next game


England's World Cup campaign took a minor stutter as they managed a goalless draw against the USA in the second group stage match, having won the first one against Iran.

Gareth Southgate has so far gone with the same starting lineup in the first two matches. And in that lineup, Manchester City's Phil Foden hasn't got a place. The forward came into the tournament on the back of tremendous form with his club but hasn't got enough game time so far in Qatar.

And former England star Wayne Rooney is bemused by the fact. He believes Foden has to start on the left-hand side for the Three Lions and has also advised England manager Gareth Southgate to bench Harry Kane.

"I found it very strange that Foden did not come on as a substitute against the USA, and as I wrote in these pages before the tournament, he would be a key part of my starting XI if I were the England boss. Technically, he is the best footballer England have," Rooney wrote in his latest column for The Times.

"He creates chances, he scores goals, he influences games and he gives you control. In possession, he always keeps hold of the ball and normally makes the right choices, and out of possession he can get at players as well. He is fast, competitive and good at pressing the opposition."

Phil Foden

He added a talent like Phil Foden has game time and wasting on the bench is only going to deny England from reaching greater heights. Foden has only played 19 minutes so far in the World Cup and Rooney says Foden must have left frustrated after staying on the bench for the entirety of England's draw against the USA.

The 22-year-old has scored 7 goals for Manchester City this season in the left-winger position, which is currently occupied by Raheem Sterling in the England squad. Sterling, comparatively had a leaner period for his new club Chelsea this season, scoring just 3 goals in 12 appearances for the London outfit.

England will be up against Wales in the final group match and Rooney also thinks skipper Harry Kane must be kept fresh for the knockout stages as he wants Newcastle forward Callum Wilson to start. Kane is yet to hit a shot on target in this World Cup and the former Manchester United legend believes it will only benefit England to try a new face in the match against Wales.

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Story first published: Sunday, November 27, 2022, 19:48 [IST]
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