Phil Foden is relishing the chance to capitalise on an extra year of development to play for England at the European Championship – but knows his place in the squad is not a given just yet.
The Manchester City midfielder has already made 37 appearances this season – one short of his most in a single campaign for the club – and has helped Pep Guardiola’s side maintain hopes of winning an unprecedented quadruple.
Foden, 20, also made his England debut in September and opened his international account with a brace in a Nations League win over Iceland two months later.
It has not been plain sailing for Foden, who was sent home from the England squad with fellow newcomer Mason Greenwood after the pair breached coronavirus protocols in Iceland.
But he now believes Gareth Southgate’s collection of young lions can benefit from the extra year they have had to prepare for the rearranged Euro 2020 finals.
Alongside players such as Bukayo Saka, Reece James and Jude Bellingham, Foden’s club and international career has developed since the original tournament was shelved due the coronavirus pandemic.
“It has given us that extra time to play at our clubs because obviously we are all very young,” he said.
“So maybe it has helped us get the opportunity to get in now. That appears to be the case. Hopefully we will win the league and maybe a couple more trophies this year.
“That would give me the confidence to push on and be in the England team, for sure. Trying to get as much experience as possible and you have to play games to get the experience so I am trying to keep playing in the biggest games I can and keep improving my game.”
Foden came off the bench in England’s 5-0 World Cup qualifying win over San Marino on Thursday night and could return to the starting line-up for Sunday’s trip to Albania.
Despite a fine start to his senior England career, Foden is not taking his place in Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad as a given – even if he feels his confidence has peaked of late.
“Obviously there are so many great talents playing well at the moment so there are places up for grabs,” he added.
“All I have got to keep doing is do well at my club and hopefully it will give me opportunities to play more games for England.
“If I don’t get picked I will just keep working hard and try and improve. I am still only 20 and got a lot to improve.
“It’s really important to be consistent with your club and I want to just take that form for my club into England as well.
“Some players in the past have struggled with performing for their clubs and with England as well so I want to take the form that I have shown with my club into England and hopefully just play the same way and do what I do best.
“It’s hard to say unstoppable but I feel like I am full of confidence. When you are in a good run of form your confidence is always higher than normal so, yes, I feel full of confidence at the moment and I am really enjoying my game.
“So I would say – is this the most confident I have felt in my career? Probably, yes.”