Phil Foden earns England redemption and shows he is Three Lions’ future in Iceland rout

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It seemed wonderfully appropriate Phil Foden scored the landmark goal.

The 100th goal of Gareth Southgate’s reign to finish off a man-of-the-match performance with a late flourish.

Foden, 20, was magnificent as he scored twice, provided an assist and glided across the pitch with such style and grace it looked as if he owned the place.

This, of course, all from a player who was brought in from the cold after being sent home from Iceland in disgrace back in September.

England boss Southgate taught Foden a lesson by leaving him out last time, this was redemption and the Manchester City midfielder made amends.

Foden is truly a special talent and is England’s future and this performance felt like a moment in time and the arrival of a new superstar.

Foden shone throughout and capped his display with two well-taken goals
(Image: PA)

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The Stockport Iniesta, with his clever drag backs, flicks and control, looks at home on the international stage and will surely be a central part of Southgate’s plans for the Euros next summer.

Foden, together with Mason Mount and Jack Grealish, made up a midfield full of energy and ideas, they were terrific and way too good for a terrible Iceland team who played the vast majority of the second half with ten men.

But this still felt like a tantalising glimpse of the future because England now have clever, skilful and technical players in what feels like an exciting new generation.

You could have made a case for Mount as man of the match until Foden’s late goals, Grealish shone again and Declan Rice also scored his first England goal while Bukayo Saka put in another strong performance at left wing back.

For all those that say this international break has been an unwelcome distraction, it will not feel like it for these young boys.

Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford were out injured and yet suddenly Southgate has a few selection dilemmas.

England finished their Nations League campaign with a flourish
(Image: Getty Images)

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But what is clear is that you have to make room for Foden. Either as part of the front three, a No10 or a central player. This kid is sensational and can be England’s most exciting player over the next few years. He is that good.

Just like with Grealish, when Foden began to relax, that is when he really shone.

There was a wonderful moment towards the end when Harry Maguire sliced a pass, Foden brought it down wonderfully and turned in the same movement. We’ll be watching that on You Tube for weeks.

This team is evolving and growing up together and moving into a new phase for Southgate.

Rice and Mount are best friends from childhood, the way they link up and understand each other should be a running theme through this team in the next few years.

England’s first goal came after 20 minutes after Grealish won a free kick just outside the box. Foden floated a wonderful, inviting free kick and the ball glanced in off Rice’s shoulder as the midfielder went to head it.

Mount made it two just four minutes later.

Saka put over a cross, Iceland failed to clear and there was Mount again to pick up the loose ball and then almost slalom his way through with a lovely drop of the shoulder before firing a low shot into the net.

Iceland, a pale shadow of the team which cost Roy Hodgson his job at Euro 2016, had Birkir Sævarsson sent off after 54 minutes for a second yellow card both of which were fouls on Saka who gave him a torrid night.

It was men against boys and Iceland could not handle Foden as Southgate began to ring the changes in the second half.

Eventually, Foden got the goals his performance deserved. Foden swept home his first goal for England after 80 minutes following nice work by Saka and Jadon Sancho.

Foden’s second came four minutes later when he drove forward and then unleashed a low shot which flew into the bottom corner to bring up 100 not out for Southgate.

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