Gareth Southgate insists Phil Foden had his best game in an England shirt in Euro 2024 semi-final win over the Netherlands, and explains why he took off captain Harry Kane for goalscoring hero Ollie Watkins

Gareth Southgate hailed Phil Foden’s best performance in an England shirt after the Three Lions beat the Netherlands 2-1 on Wednesday night to reach the Euro 2024 final.

England fell behind early on to a Xavi Simons goal, but levelled through a Harry Kane penalty before Ollie Watkins netted a dramatic 90th-minute winner.

Foden had been replaced by the time Watkins’ goal went in, but earlier had a shot cleared off the line and hit the post in a much-improved display from the Manchester City playmaker.

Speaking after his side’s historic win, Southgate felt Foden had a major impact on the game after previously struggling to replicate his club form for the national team.

‘That’s as well as he’s played in an England shirt and he had a huge, huge influence on the game,’ Southgate said.

Gareth Southgate felt Phil Foden had his best game in an England shirt on Wednesday night

Foden had a shot cleared off the line (pictured) and also hit the post with a shot from range

Foden had a shot cleared off the line (pictured) and also hit the post with a shot from range

Southgate hailed Foden's 'huge influence' on the game after he previously struggled in the tournament

Southgate hailed Foden’s ‘huge influence’ on the game after he previously struggled in the tournament

Foden was taken off with around 10 minutes left on the clock as part of a double change, as Southgate also substituted captain Kane, with Cole Palmer and Ollie Watkins entering the action.

It proved an inspired move as Palmer played the through ball that Watkins controlled and fired home to send England into Sunday’s final.

Replacing Kane was a big call from Southgate, particularly after he had earlier made Euros history by becoming the player with the most knockout stage goals in the competition ever.

Southgate explained why he made the call that paid off to perfection.

‘Energy-wise we were starting to lose a little bit of pressure,’ Southgate stated.

‘Harry had got that knock in the first half as well and Ollie can press well and make those runs in behind, which he did. So we thought it was a good moment to try it.’

Harry Kane was replaced by Ollie Watkins with around 10 minutes remaining

Harry Kane was replaced by Ollie Watkins with around 10 minutes remaining

Watkins went on to score the winning goal, and Southgate explained that he brought on Watkins to give England more energy after Kane took a knock in the first half

Watkins went on to score the winning goal, and Southgate explained that he brought on Watkins to give England more energy after Kane took a knock in the first half

On Palmer and Watkins being involved in the winning goal, Southgate added: ‘Sometimes it can work that way. The most important thing is the squad are ready to come into the game. 

‘It’s hard to pick 26 [players], but we’ve spent a lot of time with these guys.’

England are into their first major tournament on foreign soil, and Southgate admitted that his 101st game in charge had been the best of the lot.

‘It has to be the best [achievement], it’s another landmark, the way we played throughout the game, we played so well, it was a complicated game,’ he said.

‘They kept changing, we had to change how we played defensively but I thought we caused them problems all night.

‘We also had Phil’s shot cleared off the line, the disallowed goal was [a matter of] inches, I think we deserved the win tonight.’

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