Keane backs Foden to deliver after criticism from England's Euro 2024 opener

By Sports Desk June 17, 2024

England must stick with Phil Foden despite an "off night" against Serbia in their Euro 2024 opener, according to Manchester United great Roy Keane.

Foden created just one chance in Sunday's 1-0 victory as the Manchester City star moved to the left flank, making way to accommodate an attack of Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane.

The 24-year-old still managed 19 passes in the final third, only bettered by match-winning team-mate Jude Bellingham (24), but failed to register a single shot in an unusually quiet outing.

Former United midfielder Keane has no doubts over Foden's ability, however, and lamented critics calling for his dropping from Gareth Southgate's starting XI.

"This idea that you should start taking him out of the team, Phil Foden is an amazing, fantastic player who has had a great season," Keane said on ITV on Monday.

"OK, he was quiet last night but he is entitled to an off night. Don't be writing this kid off. He has got so much talent. You stick with him.

"You can talk about tactics and systems until the cows come home. Foden and these quality players will produce. He had a quiet night. Relax, everyone. He will be fine."

Bellingham stole the show as his 13th-minute header from Saka's deflected right-wing cross proved the difference.

Real Madrid's Champions League-winning midfielder also became the first player to score for the Three Lions at both the World Cup and European Championship while playing his club football outside of England.

Kane was another to be kept quiet by Serbia, though the England captain had a late header expertly pushed away by Predrag Rajkovic.

Keane insists Southgate's plethora of talent will always deliver in some form, though, whether it comes from Kane, Bellingham, Foden or any other player.

"They have got to stay calm with it all," Keane added. "Because they have three or four world-class players, when Kane or Foden are having a bit of an off-night, players like Bellingham will step up.

"It might be Foden or Kane in the next game. That is the beauty of having four or five world-class players."

England head to Frankfurt on Thursday to face Denmark, aiming to extend their embryonic lead at the top of Group C before their final meeting with Slovenia.

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