Praise doesn’t come much higher than a compliment from Roy Keane.
Potentially the only exception to that is when Roy Keane compares you to arguably his greatest-ever teammate and that’s exactly what happened to Phil Foden this week.
Foden closed out England’s 4-0 victory over Iceland on Wednesday night with a late brace, his first goals for his national team.
— Sports Global TV (@SportsGlobalTV) November 18, 2020
The first of the two goals earned considerable praise from the famously curmudgeonly Keane, with the former Manchester United captain comparing Foden to legendary ex-teammate Paul Scholes.
Keane told ITV: “I love this first goal, we’re talking about making runs in the box right at the end, a bit like Paul Scholes used to do.
“Sometimes it’s about standing still and that’s football intelligence.
“He’s 20 years of age. Excellent performance. He made a mistake a couple of months ago. He’ll be delighted with that. He’s a great prospect.”
The mistake to which Keane referred was the controversy that surrounded Foden and Mason Greenwood the last time England played Iceland, when the two youngsters were found in breach of Covid-19 regulations by inviting women to a hotel room in Reykjavik.
England manager Gareth Southgate, who recalled Foden but decided to leave Greenwood out of his most recent squad, insisted the September episode has been forgotten about.
“Tonight’s performance is why we picked him in September because we know what he is capable of,” Southgate said.
“I’m really pleased for him and his family, to have the experience he had in September is really tough for a youngster and we all make mistakes.
⭐️ Phil Foden’s contribution for @England tonight
Completed 56/62 passes
3 chances created, 1 assist (for @_DeclanRice)
5 shots, 4 on target
1st & 2nd senior international goals pic.twitter.com/0UovCzZ8Vg
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 18, 2020
“What we were intent on doing was making sure that when he came in this month in a difficult situation, you are walking in the door and you’re looking at everybody’s faces and you know the last time you saw them it was complicated.
“It took him a few days I think to settle into the camp and start to smile and relax a bit more – then tonight we felt was a really good game for him.
“We know what he is capable of doing and he is one who is going to be exciting for the next few years for England.”