Football

Phil Foden vs Bukayo Saka: Choose One

Foden Saka

Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka are starring as the protagonists in another Premier League title race involving Manchester City and Arsenal. But, when Euro 2024 comes along, it could be one or the other in Gareth Southgate’s team.

At 23 and 22-years old, Foden and Saka have already proven to be two of the best rising stars in world football right now. Having come through their clubs’ acadamies, they are now vital parts of their teams’ success.

Saka (8 goals/8 assists) and Foden (8 goals/7 assists) are leading in goal contributions in the Premier League, for Arsenal and City this season. Left-footed, silky dribblers and big-game players, it is fascinating how similar they are as footballers and in their journeys to where they are now.

Check out the start of the ‘Hayters Versus’ series above…

Set to be key figures in the run-in to the end of the season, they will soon both have eyes on Euro 2024 this summer. England are blessed with an array of attacking gems, but with Jude Bellingham proving outstanding in a number 10 role, Foden and Saka could be competing for the same spot to the right of Harry Kane.

If we try and put ourselves in Southgate’s shoes, it’s a tough task leaving out some of the talents England possess. So let’s see some key stats between Foden and Saka:

PL games: Foden 151 vs Saka 147

PL goals: Foden 43 vs Saka 39

PL assists: Foden 25 vs Saka 35

PL minutes: Foden 8,534 vs Saka 12,430

Champions League games: Foden 49 vs Saka 5

Champions League goals: Foden 13 vs Saka 3

Champions League assists: Foden 10 vs Saka 4

England games: Foden 31 vs Saka 32

England goals: Foden 4 vs Saka 11

Trophies: Foden 15 vs Saka 1

Embed from Getty Images

It is clear to see that both have burst onto the scene for club and country, being trusted to excel in the first team. But, Manchester City have had the ability to manage Foden much more carefully due to their resources and sheer dominance in recent years. But Arsenal were much more reliant on Saka from an early age and he became undroppable, which explains playing almost 4,000 more league minutes.

It could mean Foden is going to be fresher and having had time to step up to the levels of club team-mates like Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, this could be his year to be England’s diamond.

However, Southgate knows Saka has delivered with goals when called upon. In the Euro 2020 run, Saka earned a starting role at his first major tournament. In the World Cup he was a constant threat, scoring in wins over Iran and Senegal. He now has almost three times as many international goals as Foden, from a similar number of games.

But Foden has far more experience than Saka in big games, especially in the Champions League, where he changed the complexion of the final that completed last season’s treble. He has also played and won in many more finals than Saka. This season he’s been getting better, highlighted by a superb hat-trick against Brentford.

Arsenal legend Alan Smith proposes a different option that can make both happy: “I was looking at Phil Foden’s stats this season and he has actually played in and started a lot of games for Pep this year, in a number of different positions.”

“They have to find a starting place for him at the Euros. In an England standpoint, he is now ahead of Jack Grealish in the pecking order. I think that will be how it appears in Gareth Southgate’s mind.

“t’s all about finding a good balance.”

A front four of Saka, Bellingham and Foden behind Harry Kane? Maybe there’s a team that includes both of the Premier League starlets, over to you Gareth.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Latest

To Top