Phil Foden described his sensational, two-goal Wembley performance as one of the best nights of his life … two months after his England shame.
Foden was sent home from Iceland in disgrace in September after meeting up with two women in the team’s Reykjavik hotel, breaking strict Covid-19 and squad rules.
But after punishing Foden and Mason Greenwood by leaving them out of the squad for three matches in October, Gareth Southgate recalled the Manchester City midfielder and started him in last night’s Nations League game against Iceland.
And Foden thanked him with two goals and an assist in the emphatic victory.
Foden said: “That’s up there with one of the best (nights of my life), I enjoyed that a lot. Scoring my first goal for England means a lot. It’s an unbelievable feeling.”
And Foden knows he is indebted to Southgate after his serious misdemeanour.
Referring to the events in Iceland, he went on: “That was one of the hardest moments of my life.
“That’s the time you need the trust of your manager and Gareth had a lot of respect for me by playing me tonight and trusting me. I’m happy to repay him with the goals and play well. I was determined to get back and do the best I can.”
First half goals from Declan Rice and Mason Mount put England in comfortable control before Foden stole the show in the second half.
Southgate praised Foden’s performance and also the way he responded after being sent home in September but was critical of the fixture schedule in this campaign, particularly having to play the first round of games before the Premier League kicked off.
England boss Southgate, who also criticised the lack of testing in the camp, said: “I was really pleased the public got to see this performance because we’ve got some sensational young players who will be our future.
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“I’m really pleased for Phil and his family to have experienced what they had in September and we all make mistakes and it took him a while to relax this time because of the circumstances and situation of what happened.
“But we created dramas for ourselves over the past few months and September was really complicated because we should not have been playing in September.
“To not have a staff test is incredible and it’s been very difficult. It affected our enjoyment and we almost had herd immunity because so many players and people had had the virus.”