Gary Neville believes England simply must give Phil Foden a chance to light up the Qatar World Cup after the Manchester City man played no part against the United States.
According to former England defender Neville, powerhouses such as Brazil would give Foden more of a chance on the big stage than England are allowing him.
Foden watched on as Gareth Southgate’s men laboured to a 0-0 draw at the Al Bayt Stadium, delivering a largely turgid performance that was far removed from the opening 6-2 win over Iran.
The American opposition were more threatening for large parts of the game than much-fancied England, and substitutes Jack Grealish, Jordan Henderson and Marcus Rashford did little to change that.
Foden, a favourite of Pep Guardiola at City, made an appearance off the bench in the Iran game, but Southgate elected to keep him off the field this time, even with England lacking attacking spark that he might have provided.
Speaking on ITV, Neville said: “I was disappointed not to see Foden. For me, that talent is huge. I’ve not seen anything like that. I know we’ve got [Jude] Bellingham, we’ve got Grealish, we’ve got others.
“Gareth prefers [Mason] Mount, he prefers [Bukayo] Saka, he prefers [Raheem] Sterling at the moment, but for me for Foden not to be in amongst that in a starting XI, and to not come off the bench was interesting.
“I’m torn a little bit because I’ve got huge respect for Gareth and what he’s achieved. He’s achieved more than any [England] manager since Sir Alf Ramsey, but we’ve got a couple of talents there on the bench in Trent Alexander-Arnold and Foden. In terms of opening up a game, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s got some of the best deliveries you’ll ever see from a full-back.
“Those two not coming off the bench was a little bit disappointing in the sense that if you’re going to try to win the game, they’re world-class talents.
“Other nations – Spain, Brazil, France – probably would have Trent Alexander-Arnold and Foden in the starting XI, and I understand it a little bit having watched Trent Alexander-Arnold defend, but when you see a game like that where we lack creativity and where we can’t really create any chances, you think, those two players, really should they be in there?”
Neville said England’s overall display was “poor”, and rated the USA midfield performance higher than England’s effort in that area.
His former Manchester United team-mate Roy Keane agreed Foden should have played a part and was blunt about England’s dour display.
Keane, a former Republic of Ireland midfield general, said: “We were all stood watching the game saying ‘Foden’.
“You fully expected Foden to come on with the options, and the subs that did come on didn’t really have an impact
“I know they did well the other day, but England did look leggy, they looked one-paced, they looked short of ideas. Even set-pieces, you never felt they had a goal in their locker from that. So actually it was a terrible performance.”