The Manchester City star has made just one substitute appearance in Qatar, coming on in the 71st minute in the 6-2 win over Iran on matchday one.
Foden was left on the substitutes’ bench for the goalless draw against the United States, despite England lacking creative prowess or cutting edge.
Southgate introduced Jordan Henderson, Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford off the bench, which has put pressure on him to start Foden on Tuesday night.
His decision to leave the 22-year-old out has drawn criticism from fans and pundits who believe the Man City sensation should be a central figure for the Three Lions at the tournament.
Southgate has dismissed any suggestion that he has an issue with Foden. “We love Phil – he is a super player,” the England boss told ITV.
“He was into the first game – we decided not to put him into the second. But he is going to play an important part in this tournament for us, there is no question about that.
“We haven’t got any issue with Phil. In September, he started both games for us, and we put him into the game versus Iran. We decided to stick with that team, and we felt the changes required something a little different for the USA.
“But we are intending to be here as long as we can. And he is a super player, and we think the world of him. And he is going to play a big part.
Foden has been in sensational form for his club side this season. The youngster has made 14 Premier League appearances for Pep Guardiola’s men and has contributed seven goals and three assists, including a sensational hat-trick against Manchester United last month.
He predominantly plays on the left of Guardiola’s front three, with the Spanish boss considering that to be his preferred position.
However, when Southgate was asked where he felt was Foden’s best position, he said: “He can play off either wing. He can play as a false nine.
“He can play behind a striker – he doesn’t do that as often for his club. He works hard for the team, and of course, he has fabulous technical ability.”
The Battle of Britain between England and Wales will take place on Tuesday night. A point will be enough for England to secure a place in the next round, but a win will guarantee they finish as group winners.
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