Phil Foden is “as good as, if not better” than Jack Grealish and James Maddison, and should be figuring prominently in the thoughts of England manager Gareth Southgate, says Chris Waddle.
The Manchester City midfielder has been knocking on a senior international door for some time, but is yet to take a step up out of the Under-21 set-up.
Aston Villa playmaker Grealish is another waiting on a first call-up, with the 24-year-old yet to get the nod despite plenty of speculation regarding big-money transfers at club level.
Leicester schemer Maddison has made the breakthrough, as questions are also asked of his domestic future, and Southgate faces some tough decisions in the creativity department.
Former Three Lions star Waddle concedes as much, but feels a gifted 19-year-old should be rising to the top of the pile after proving himself in a star-studded squad at the Etihad Stadium.
“I’d put Phil Foden in the England squad now and I don’t understand people saying he’s not ready,” Waddle told the Racing Post.
“I also don’t understand why he didn’t play at Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup just a few days after his man-of-the-match display against Aston Villa at Wembley.
“I’d like to think that perhaps Pep Guardiola is actually paying him a compliment by keeping him back for the Manchester derby because Kevin De Bruyne is injured.
“But I’d be playing him all the time because he’s full of energy, young, confident and it isn’t as though he needs a rest.
“There’s a lot of talk of Jack Grealish and James Maddison, but this kid’s as good as them if not better.
“If he was playing week in, week out, he’d be in the England team, never mind the squad.
“But it’s easy for Gareth Southgate not to pick him because he could argue that he’s not playing enough first-team football.
“There is no doubt that if he was playing more at City he’d be ahead of Grealish and Maddison but he’s suffering by being at a club full of superstars.
“He must have the patience of a saint. If I was him I’d be knocking Guardiola’s door off its hinges demanding to play because it’s quite possible that this lack of playing time will cost him a place at Euro 2020 and that would be a real shame.”
Foden has taken in 25 appearances for City this season across all competitions, registering three goals and seven assists, but is far from assured of a regular starting berth in Guardiola’s plans.