Cesc Fabregas names England star who has to 'step up' after 'underwhelming' Serbia display

cesc fabregas names england star who has to 'step up' after 'underwhelming' serbia display

Cesc Fabregas was unimpressed by Phil Foden’s display against Serbia (Picture: BBC Sport)

Cesc Fabregas said Phil Foden will have to ‘step up’ his performance levels after an ‘underwhelming’ display in England’s nervy 1-0 win in their Euro 2024 opener against Serbia.

Jude Bellingham got England off to the perfect start when he thumped a header past Predrag Rajkovic in the 13th minute for what proved to be the match-winning effort.

Harry Kane saw his headed effort tipped onto the bar superbly after the break, with Gareth Southgate’s side forced to dig deep after a resurgent Serbian display in the second half.

The manner of England’s second-half display – and their inability to press home their early advantage and look after the ball – will raise eyebrows, with former European Championship winner Fabregas highlighting Manchester City’s Foden as one player who failed to pull his weight.

‘It’s about if you want the ball enough to make the difference. Do you enjoy getting the ball under pressure,’ Fabregas said after the game on BBC.

‘When England played their best football it was when Serbia allowed them to have the ball. In the second half when they start to get pressed a little bit more, we start to see Foden hitting the ball 40 yards without looking, Trent [Alexander-Arnold] too.

‘You will never see Xavi or Andres Iniesta or the top players of the last 15 years do that. You need to take responsibility.

cesc fabregas names england star who has to 'step up' after 'underwhelming' serbia display

Phil Foden struggled in England’s Euro 2024 opener against Serbia (Picture: Getty)

‘I did think the second half was a little bit underwhelming, And I think players like Foden need to step up. This is the time for them to grow in big tournaments.

Foden enjoyed a superb season for City, notching up 19 goals and eight assists in 35 Premier League appearances.

However, he has often failed to replicate his best form on national team duty, failing to have a shot on goal against Serbia as he struggled to influence the game from the left wing.

Micah Richards, who has previously advocated for playing Bellingham in a deeper role to accommodate for Foden centrally, echoed Fabregas’ sentiments and challenged Southgate to find a system that gets the best out of both players.

‘It makes me sad that a player of his quality is just in and out of the game,’ he said when asked about Foden. ‘It’s just disappointing we’re not able to get the best out of him.’

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