Keen fisherman Phil Foden is determined to reel in more medals as he targets another title with England.
The Manchester City midfielder is ready for England Under-21s’ Euro 2019 campaign in Italy which starts against France on Tuesday.
Foden won the Under-17 World Cup with the Young Lions two years ago – being named player of the tournament following a 5-2 comeback win over Spain.
He already has two Premier League and two Carabao Cup winners’ medals but the 19-year-old wants to add more to his trophy cabinet at home.
“It’s all about winning the next thing, once you win one thing, you want to win the next thing,” he said.
“For me, I just love winning. Every game I go into I just want to win it. It’s the excitement of winning.
“I keep them in a cabinet. It’s getting full though. I might need a new one! Sometimes I walk past and just have a look and realise I’ve won a lot.
“The World Cup was the first, the biggest one I won and then I started winning trophies with City, cups and leagues. It’s hard to pick one. Every single one is special to me.
“My first medal was probably with the Reddish Vulcans, winning a little tournament and getting a medal, I remember that. I was about eight or nine. It made me realise I want to win more and more.”
Foden and fellow Under-17 champion Morgan Gibbs-White are joined by nine Under-20 World Cup winners in Italy, where England also play Romania and Croatia in Group C.
The Young Lions have been tipped to win the competition, although they face a testing first game against France in Cesena.
The pressure-cooker atmosphere of an international tournament, though, is a world away from Foden’s ideal quiet hobby of fishing.
“I go fishing with my dad when I have a bit of free time. When I have a bit of quiet time, it’s relaxing. I’ve always done it,” he said.
“My biggest fish was a catfish, 136 pounds, it took three of us to get it. It’s not in the trophy cabinet though.”
Fishing offers the Stockport-born star an escape from the spotlight as the teenager deals with the intense focus of the Premier League.
He has played 36 times for City – making just three top-flight starts – since 2017 but life has changed dramatically for him.
“Yes, it’s really hard. For example even when I go shopping, I am going to get stopped for a picture. I don’t mind that but it’s quite hard to lead a normal life,” said Foden, the youngest player to win the Premier League.
“People are always watching you. It’s just what happens. I was walking down the road after one of my first games, and people were going can I have a picture.
“Football can be hard sometimes, your form can drop and I’m sure it will some time – it happens to everyone. Maybe people get on your back but it happens. It’s part and parcel of football.
“I like to think I’m a role model, I just deal with it by trying my best every day and being the best I can be.”
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