Phil Foden concedes 'there is only so much' Gareth Southgate can do

  • England under fire after poor showings at Euro 2024
  • Manager Gareth Southgate under immense pressure
  • Foden believes players are also to blame
Foden leaps to Southgate's defence
Foden leaps to Southgate's defence / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

England forward Phil Foden admits the players must share the blame for the team's underwhelming showings at Euro 2024 this summer.

The Three Lions won just one of their three group games and came within seconds of elimination from the last 16 at the hands of Slovakia, only for a stunning overhead kick from Jude Bellingham in the dying embers to take the game to extra-time.

Manager Gareth Southgate has been the primary target of criticism from the England fans, but Foden leapt to the defence of his boss and insisted the players are also at fault.

"I feel like the players have got to take some of the blame," Foden said. "There has to be some leaders to get together and find out a solution to why it is not working.

"There is only so much the manager can do. He sets you up in a system and tells you how to press. If it is not going like that you have to... you never decide when a person is going to drop deep, as well. Maybe change the formation you are not used to. The players have got to adapt to what the other team is doing to be better.

"That's what I spoke about before – maybe not just sitting back and accepting it. I feel like just having a chat maybe when the ball goes out, getting together having a chat and saying, 'what's going wrong?' I feel like against Denmark we didn't really do that. We just kind of accepted that they were putting pressure on us.

"You can obviously prepare for a game but you can't prepare for players moving out of position and making it awkward for you, so hopefully now going into this game we can get it right. It is something we have definitely spoken about recently and, going forward, hopefully you will see a different side to us pressing-wise."

Gareth Southgate, Phil Foden
Southgate is under pressure / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Foden went on to sympathise with Southgate, acknowledging that England's players have not done enough to protect their manager.

"I feel sorry for Gareth," Foden explained. "He has not set out to do that. In training he has been telling us to press and be high up on the pitch and I feel like, sometimes, it has to come from the players.

"We have to be leaders and I feel like in those games we could have got together a little bit more and worked out a solution. So yes, I feel like we have spoken about it more and if it happens again in a game, we can get together and find a solution and see where it is going wrong and adapt our press."

England will hope for a much-improved performance when they face Switzerland in the quarter-final of Euro 2024 in the first of Saturday's two games.