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Foden vs Bellingham: The Battle for England’s Number 10 Role

England’s quest for Euro 2024 glory hinges on a crucial question: who will wear the coveted number 10 shirt? Two young midfield maestros, Phil Foden of Manchester City and Jude Bellingham of Real Madrid, are locked in a fierce battle for this playmaking role.

Both players shone in the thrilling 3-3 draw between their clubs in the Champions League quarter-final first leg. Foden, named Man of the Match, thrived in the number 10 position, a role he’s occupied nine times for City this season. Bellingham, with 24 games under his belt in that position for Real Madrid, is another natural fit.

Numbers Tell a Part of the Story

Statistics website WhoScored paints a close picture, with both players rated nearly identically (Foden: 7.84, Bellingham: 7.83) as attacking midfielders. However, a deeper dive reveals intriguing differences.

Foden boasts a higher goalscoring threat, contributing to 12 goals (7 goals, 3 assists) in just 10 appearances. However, his most prolific position is on the right wing, where he’s contributed to more goals (12) across all competitions.

Bellingham, meanwhile, is a creative powerhouse. He’s notched up a remarkable 24 goals (16 goals, 8 assists) as an attacking midfielder, though across two-and-a-half times the number of games compared to Foden.

See Also: Foden Reflects on Manchester City’s Progress after Thrilling Draw with Real Madrid

Southgate’s Dilemma

While Bellingham has enjoyed a starting role as England’s number 10 this season, Foden’s sole appearance in that position came during Bellingham’s injury absence. Southgate seems to favor Bellingham’s defensive contributions when deployed deeper, but his attacking prowess shines at number 10.

Expert Opinions Weigh In

Former Manchester City defender Micah Richards echoes this sentiment, stating his preference for Foden centrally: “He picks out acute spaces and can come and get the ball in midfield, making those passes.”

England manager Gareth Southgate acknowledges Foden’s preference for the central role but highlights the tactical considerations: “He doesn’t play there often for his club. There’s a lot of detail without the ball in the middle.”

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola, City’s manager, emphasizes Bellingham’s impact at Real Madrid: “His influence is obvious, and we have to try to discover what he does to control it.”

Read More Here: Manchester City and Real Madrid Play Out Thrilling 3-3 Draw in Champions League Clash

The Verdict: A Difficult Choice

Foden’s explosiveness and creativity are undeniable. However, Bellingham’s all-around skillset, including defensive contributions, offers a different dimension. Ultimately, the decision rests with Southgate, who must weigh tactical needs against individual strengths.

England fans can be confident that whoever wears the number 10 shirt possesses the talent to propel them towards Euro 2024 glory.

You Might Also Like: Guardiola Calls for Electric Atmosphere as City Face Real Madrid Showdown

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