Alan Smith column: Mason Mount and Phil Foden’s quick feet and sharp minds can tackle Champions League Final

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 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mason Mount and Phil Foden — two special talents on opposite sides in Porto before coming together to give Gareth Southgate envious options in England's Euros campaign.

For what it's worth, I think both should face Croatia on June 13. Floating around Harry Kane, they would offer quick feet and sharp minds in very tight spaces. If a pass to Kane was on, either would see it in a flash.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Firstly, the Champions League Final must be navigated for two players very much deserving of this kind of stage. And they have to grab it with both hands because, while both might be young, this could feasibly turn out to be the one and only time these lads get to play in this showpiece occasion. All sorts of things can get in the way later on, such as injuries, loss of form and their clubs falling away.

That said, this country has not produced many of their type over the years. Technically superb, they have a work ethic to match and great temperaments. All being well, both should enjoy glittering careers in teams consistently challenging for the top trophies

Helping them along right now, this pair is lucky enough to be schooled every day by two of the best coaches around. Thomas Tuchel has handled some of the world's finest talent, players like Kylian Mbappe and Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain. Even so, I bet he has been impressed with Mount's all-round ability, not to mention his capacity for performing at a very high level in two or three positions.

There is a huge difference, after all, between a holding midfielder working closely with defenders behind, smelling danger and covering before even thinking about venturing forward, and an attacker when it's more about creating waves with your sharp movement.

Mount is surely destined for that second job in Portugal against a Manchester City defence that has gained great strength through the impressive partnership of John Stones and Ruben Dias.

Further forward, Foden has slowly become an integral part of Pep Guardiola's planning, which must go down as the ultimate compliment for any footballer. The Spaniard took his time in promoting the youngster, feeling aspects of his game needed correcting.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Not so much now. 21 today, Foden gets the key of the door to City's left flank where his tussles with Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta should be quite something.

On the night, both Mount and Foden have the potential to be matchwinners. Neither, I think, will be intimidated one bit by the occasion. As for the watching Southgate, he'll just be praying his gems come through unscathed.

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