Gary Neville: Phil Foden is England's best talent

Gary Neville: Phil Foden is England's best talent
(Image credit: Getty)

Gary Neville says that England's best player is Phil Foden ahead of the second half against the United States.

England were lifeless in the first 45 against USA and now, ITV pundit Neville says that Foden is needed for the second half, calling him "England's best player" and the biggest talent in the country "by a mile". 

England started off holding onto possession nicely, taking the sting out of the United States press, with Harry Kane having the Three Lions’ first chance after nine minutes, which deflected out for a corner – a few minutes later, he wound up for a bicycle kick to connect with a Bukayo Saka cross but didn’t meet the chance. Kane is just two goals short of Wayne Rooney’s all-time scoring record for England and would like to beat it at the World Cup, after only registering two assists and failing to score against Iran.

Weston McKennie arguably had the chance of the first half hour, after the US grew into the game. The Juventus midfielder had made a run into the penalty and drifted into space away from Kieran Trippier, meeting a cross from Timothy Weah with a swing of the right leg. Fortunately for England, McKennie managed to sky the chance over the crossbar, much to the relief of Trippier and his goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, who watched it sail over, rooted to the spot. Yunus Musah, a couple of minutes later, had a long-range effort deflect off Declan Rice and into the grateful grasp of the Everton keeper.

England were given another warning after 32 minutes when Chelsea attacker Christian Pulisic rattled the crossbar. The England defence weren’t quick enough to close down the United States forward line and when Pulisic cut in on his right foot, his effort from the edge of the penalty area looked as though it took a touch off Pickford before shaking the woodwork from a difficult angle. 

Weston McKennie of USA controls the ball under pressure from Mason Mount and Mason Mount of England during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between England and USA at Al Bayt Stadium on November 25, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar.

Weston McKennie of USA controls the ball under pressure from Mason Mount (Image credit: Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Towards the end of the first half, England started to take back a little control. First, Luke Shaw did incredibly on the left flank to whip a ball back to Bukayo Saka, who couldn’t wrap his foot around the ball enough to have a clear shot at goal. Minutes later, Mason Mount was free in the left halfspace and stung the gloves of US goalkeeper Matt Turner with a drive from around 25 yards out. 

Both teams started with 21 of the 22 players who began the first fixtures. England lined up with the same 4-3-3 formation, opting for a back four despite reports that Kyle Walker had returned from injury to slot into the defence. Gareth Southgate stated that the same XI deserved “to go again”.

The United States, meanwhile, made one change from the side that started against Wales, opting for Antalyaspor striker Haji Wright over Norwich City hitman Joshua Sargeant. The US chose to remain unchanged defensively despite talk surrounding Nashville defender Walker Zimmerman – who conceded the penalty that Gareth Bale converted. Zimmerman is the only player in the line-up who doesn’t play his club football in Europe – with Gregg Berhalter having stated in the past that he prefers stars playing across the Atlantic, as opposed to Major League Soccer. 

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