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England manager Gareth Southgate has defended his use of Phil Foden in a wide position, saying Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola also plays the midfielder in the same role.

Foden has said he feels his game is more suited to the central No. 10 role but Southgate has been reluctant to use him there in his 26 caps — all of which have come under the former under-21s coach.

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Foden has three England goals to his name along with eight assists since his debut in September 2020.

“He doesn’t for his club,” Southgate fired back when asked why he doesn’t deploy the Man City man in a more central role. “Presumably there is a reason for that. It depends on the level of the game. In the middle of the park, everyone wants to talk about the ‘with the ball’ but there is a lot of detail without the ball.”

“You’d have to speak to Pep, who is the best coach in the world, who plays him from wide,” the manager later continued. “He’s always got the freedom to drift if we play him wide and that’s important.”

Foden has registered three Premier League assists already this season having started three of the defending champions’ opening four matches.

England were held to a 1-1 draw by Ukraine on Saturday, their first dropped points of the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign. They face Scotland in a friendly on Tuesday at Hampden Park in Glasgow.

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