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'Fearless' Foden has to start for England against Croatia as Richards urges Southgate to go all-out attack

10:39 GMT+4 13/06/2021
Phil Foden Man City England 2020-21
The Manchester City forward has only just turned 21 but is ready to make a big impact for the Three Lions at Euro 2020

Former England international Micah Richards says Manchester City forward Phil Foden must start the Euro 2020 opener against Croatia and is tipping him to make a big impression at the tournament.

Foden only turned 21 on May 28 but was a major part of City winning the Premier League and reaching the final of the Champions League.

And ex-City defender Richards has urged England coach Gareth Southgate to be bold with his team selection and says Foden will have no fear of facing anyone.

What’s been said?

"Foden has shown this season that he's fearless, nothing fazes him," Richards told Goal.

"You know what it's like when you’re in a team or within a squad, whether it's a big tournament or not, we tend to just go with the tried and trusted rather than someone who's been in form.

"Just because he's 21, people are worried it’s going to be too much for him, but he's in the best form of his life so just play him.

"You can just see the way he plays, nothing fazes him, just having that freedom to come inside and do what he does so, of course, I would play him."

Attack, attack, attack!

Many believe England could struggle defensively at Euro 2020, with Harry Maguire in a race against time to be fit to play in the tournament.

But with plenty of attacking options, Richards, who was the youngest defender to play for England as an 18-year-old in 2006, says Southgate should play to his strengths and play without fear.

"What will end up happening if we go defensively, we'll lose a little bit of belief of what we could achieve," he added. "When you've got all that quality, why not use it?

"We know England are not the best defensively anyway, and sometimes the best form of defence is attack.

"You wouldn't see the Brazilians saying: 'Oh we've got all these flare players now, but we should go defensive because we're playing against a good team'."

Influence of Guardiola

Richards also believes that Southgate can use the way Pep Guardiola has transformed City as a blueprint for success with the national team.

"He's got to look at Pep, the way City play and see he's got all these players playing so well," he added.

"Gareth can be his own manager and do what he needs to, but you can always take and learn different things like how can I affect the game by playing a certain way.

"That little bit of added experience from Pep's [influence] could play a pivotal role in what they need."

Micah Richards is part of the BBC football team. Follow Euro 2020 on the BBC across TV, radio and online this summer.

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