Ashley Cole tells England to make controversial Bukayo Saka decision

Bukayo Saka has been England’s player of the year two years in a row (Picture: Getty)

Ashley Cole has urged Gareth Southgate to ‘rest’ Bukayo Saka and afford Phil Foden the chance to thrive in his best position in England’s upcoming Euro 2024 game against Slovenia.

Despite two indifferent displays against Denmark and Serbia, the Three Lions are virtually assured of a place in the last 16 having collected four points from two games.

England looked disjointed against the Danes in midweek, however, and Southgate is facing calls to change his starting XI in order to find the coherence that will be required if his side are to make to the latter stages.

Saka has been England’s player of the year in each of the last two seasons but Cole fears a choice needs to be made between the Arsenal winger and his Manchester City counterpart.

Foden was the outstanding player in City’s fourth straight Premier League title-winning campaign but has look lost for his country, stationed out on the left flank.

Asked he would make changes for England’s final Group C game, former England left-back Cole told beIN Sports: ‘I would like to see Anthony Gordon play from the left, I would like to see Foden playing on the right because I feel he’s been unfairly dug out.

‘You can still see it as a rest for Saka. I would like Foden to show the world how good he is because we know.

Phil Foden of England reacts during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between Denmark and England (Picture: Getty)

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‘I feel he’s been unfairly criticised playing out of position. People might go well he’s a world class player, he should be able to adapt. Fair point I understand that.

‘But what I see of him playing for Man City I would like to see him play there.

‘In terms of midfield or other changes I’d like to see Kobbie or Cole Palmer play in midfield, be more front footed, dominate the ball a bit more they would be my changes.’

On the suggestion that England’s players are too tired to implement the pressing style Southgate wants to employ, Cole added: ‘It looked like they weren’t fit enough in the two games that I’ve watched.

‘I don’t think you can be unfit at this stage of the season. You’ve gone 38 games in the league plus the cup games, plus Champions League.

‘What I would say is choose fresh players, choose players that can run, choose players that haven’t played as many games. That would be the answer to that.’

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