Phil Foden has admitted he made a “massive mistake” by breaching the England camp’s Covid-19 protocols in Iceland last year but thanked Gareth Southgate for the chance to rebuild his international career.
The Manchester City youngster’s first call-up to the senior squad last September ended in him and Mason Greenwood being sent home early as punishment for meeting up with two women at the team hotel in Reykjavik.
Both players were overlooked for the subsequent October internationals but Foden returned the following month and has emerged as a key member of Southgate’s set-up in the time since, scoring twice in his six international appearances to date.
The 21-year-old now has an opportunity to start Sunday’s Group D opener against Croatia at Wembley and he thanked Southgate for allowing him to fulfill a dream of representing England at a major tournament.
“I made a massive mistake,” Foden said. “I was young. Gareth told me if I keep doing well, keep performing well I should get another opportunity, so I had to work really hard for that.
"Not many managers would give you another opportunity so I have to thank Gareth a lot for giving me another opportunity.
“I was a massive England fan growing up. I couldn't name just one player,” he added.
“There were so many great players and I believe we should have gotten more from the team we had. But we want to focus now on what we're trying to do and create our own history.”
As well as being an England supporter, Foden is also a fan of Panini stickers, having received a free album during the March internationals. The youngster plans to spend his downtime during the tournament completing the Euro 2020 collection.
“When I was last with England they gave us the Euros collection to complete,” he said.
“I had that in my room when I was bored and it gave me something to do. I started enjoying it even more. I started collecting a few more and I still do that now.”
Foden joined up with the squad late last week having been granted a rest following City’s defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League final and insisted that he has already recovered from that disappointment.
“I feel like the best way to forget about what happened is to play your football,” he said. “When I am back on the training pitch with the guys here I forgot about it straight away and just focusing on England and trying to do well here.
“Obviously it hurts losing such an important game. You have to forget about it, your teammates and you are all working really hard together.”
And with City and Chelsea among the best represented club sides in Southgate’s squad, Foden believes the experience of playing on European football’s greatest stage can only benefit England.
“That can definitely help us. We've had a lot of players playing important games so we'll know how it feels like if we get to those matches.
“The quality is very high,” he added. “We've got a lot of players who can play at the highest level as we've seen this year. We've also got experience with the likes of Harry Kane and [Jordan] Henderson.
“We have a great balance, we look really strong in this tournament and why not? We could win it.”
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