Gareth Southgate said Phil Foden is playing with a “clean slate” after starring in England’s 4-0 win over Iceland.
England rounded off their Nations League A2 campaign with a comfortable win at Wembley, with Foden scoring twice and Mason Mount and Declan Rice also netting.
Foden was sent home from England duty in September along with Mason Greenwood after breaking Covid-19 restrictions.
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Asked about Foden, Southgate told the BBC: "I always hope that players feel the freedom to play as they do with their club and Phil Foden did that. We all make mistakes.
It was important for him to feel a clean slate. He has relaxed through the week, playing with a smile on his face and tonight he came into the game. He has an eye for goal.
Although England didn’t qualify for the last four of the Nations League with the win, Southgate enjoyed the performance.
"The hunger to play and the application pleased me. It would have been easy tonight with nothing riding on the result, for the mentality not to be there and have a damp squib of a game.
"I said we have to make the most of the game. We are trying to build a team. We have been nowhere near having all of our squad together this autumn and the bedrock of the team all wanted to play.
"The captain wanted to play, he led that. We could surround the young players with the stability of the experienced players."
Southgate also said England are working on getting the right "balance".
"There were excellent performances, especially for Jack Grealish, somebody so young. It's good balance to have an attacking-minded player in the position.
"It was also good to see Mason Mount in the central area again, he makes those forward runs. Our attacking play was very, very good. Bukayo Saka again showed his potential. If it's a headache about having good players in the side then that's a good one to have."
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