John Barnes sympathises with Man City ace who had a game to forget at the Euros on Sunday

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Former Liverpool midfielder John Barnes has sympathised with Phil Foden after the Manchester City attacker struggled to make an impact during England’s Euros opener against Serbia on Sunday.

The 24-year-old was named in the starting XI by Gareth Southgate for the group C clash but struggled to grow into the game and created just one chance as the Three Lions recorded a 1-0 victory in Gelsenkirchen.

Foden registered 39 goal contributions in 53 appearances for the Sky Blues this term (across all competitions) and was named Premier League Player of the Season as City picked up their fourth consecutive league title.

Barnes, who represented Liverpool between 1987-1997, has explained he had similar struggles to Foden when he was playing for England and struggled to replicate club form with the national side.

“It’s like having an out-of-body experience,” the 60-year-old told talKSPORT. “I went through something very similar.

“Sir Bobby Robson used to say to me, ‘We want you to play for England the way you play for Liverpool’.

“You know what I said to him? ‘If England played the way Liverpool do, then I would’.

“It’s the same for Foden. Whether you put Foden on the left, the middle or the right, unless England are going to play like Man City, nothing will change.

“The left-back for Man City is Josko Gvardiol. He’s not a left-footer. The way Man City play suits him.

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“It doesn’t matter about using him, Anthony Gordon, Cole Palmer… unless England play the way their clubs play, it doesn’t matter. You’ll never get the best out of them.”

Barnes continued: “If Jude Bellingham is going to be the No.10, the playmaker on the ball all the time, all Foden will be is a bit-part player. Work hard, defend, give the ball to Bellingham.

“Therefore, what is he doing there? It doesn’t matter what position he plays. The football, the tactics, the template of how they play, the way they move the ball… unless it’s going to be like Man City, you’ll never see the best of Foden.”

England dominated the ball against Serbia but struggled to get Foden on the ball as he recorded just one touch in the opposition box all game.

He’s most effective when given somewhat of a free role which allows him to float in the pockets and pick up positions across the pitch but he was stuck out on the left flank against Serbia and was very much isolated.

It’s interesting to hear what Barnes has had to say about the matter and it remains to be seen whether the City ace will retain his spot in the starting XI when England face Denmark on Thursday.

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