WHEN I look at all the squads in Qatar, I struggle to find any to match England for attacking flair.

And in Jack Grealish and Phil Foden, we’ve got two players who virtually every other national team in Qatar would look to build their team around.

Foden was an unused substitute in England's 0-0 draw with the USA

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Foden was an unused substitute in England’s 0-0 draw with the USACredit: Getty
Grealish made an appearance off the bench

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Grealish made an appearance off the benchCredit: Getty

But two games in to the World Cup they have spent the combined total of an hour on the pitch and frankly that amazes me.

If I could have one wish for Tuesday’s final group match against Wales, it would be to see the pair of them out there from the start.

When you’ve effectively reached the last 16 with a game to spare it might seem a bit harsh to knock Gareth Southgate’s tactics.

But I watched that 0-0 draw against the USA and it was crying out for someone to provide that bit of magic — someone to find that killer pass or inject a bit of life into things.

We had it for the last 20-odd minutes when Jack finally came on but there was no sign of Foden — and I really can’t understand why.

No disrespect to Jordan Henderson, he’s a fantastic player and I like him a lot. But it’s not as though England were getting overrun in midfield.

We were looking to win the game — or at least we should have been — so why didn’t Foden get his chance?

I know there’s a bit of the chicken-and-egg situation here. We got a point, and barring a total disaster against the Welsh, that’s qualification sorted.

But it could have been done with a game to spare, and I think with Foden AND Grealish out there it would have been.

You need a bit of magic, a player who provides that something special, and there’s no shortage of them in the England squad.

By now I’m sure you know that no one’s a bigger fan of Jack than me, and he’d be one of the first names in my team every time.

I am a huge admirer of Phil too, he’s one of the best young players this country’s seen in years. But for some reason Gareth rarely seems to fancy either of them from the off.

People will say ‘it’s all well and good sticking them in but who do you drop to make way?’ and that’s the million-dollar question.

But whether it’s Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling, going with just one holding midfielder or whatever, I would find a way to play them.

Who knows, maybe Gareth will take the shackles off and go for it against Wales, and I really hope he does.

I really think we can match any team in the tournament on that score. And while there may have been stronger England line-ups in the past, I don’t think we’ve ever had so much depth. Some players pick themselves. Luke Shaw, for example, because he’s the only specialised left-back in the squad.

But on the opposite wing you could argue the case for Trent Alexander-Arnold ahead of Kieran Trippier.

That’s nothing against Kieran, who has proved himself at this level and never let England down. I’m just making the point as to how much talent we’ve got.

I tell you one thing, although there have been some questions about Trent defensively, if he was Brazilian they’d be calling him the new Cafu.

Maybe we’ll see some others get a chance against Wales — although if you’re looking for plusses in the performance against the States, the two centre-backs were superb.

Harry Maguire especially was fantastic, he didn’t put a foot wrong all night. He headed every ball and a couple of them, with players coming round the back post, were vital.

That will have done Harry’s confidence the world of good, because it’s been a pretty tough season for him and I’m sure he will kick on even more now.

I just hope England do the same, because I still don’t see any reason why we can’t go all the way.

Yes, it was disappointing the other night, but no one ever wins the World Cup by being perfect in every game.

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France had their moments in Russia, and how often have we seen Germany struggle and then go all the way? Fingers crossed this time they end up saying that about England.

But please, Gareth… let’s see Grealish and Foden given a chance. And not just for the final few minutes, either.



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