Phil Foden is the best young player in the country and can emulate Paul Gascoigne’s Italia 90 heroics at this month’s World Cup, according to Paul Parker.
But the former England defender has warned the Manchester City ace to expect a rockier ride than at club level as he adapts to a less technical team.
Foden, 22, has already developed into a key presence in Gareth Southgate’s side after helping England reach last summer’s EURO 2020 final.
The Stockport star has already racked up 18 caps since his debut against Iceland in 2020 and has continued to sparkle at domestic level alongside Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva in Pep Guardiola’s high-flying Etihad machine.
Parker, 58, featured alongside Gascoigne as England reached the World Cup semi-finals in 1990 and says Foden has what it takes to follow in the mercurial midfielders’ footsteps in Qatar.
He said: “Phil is maybe the best young player we have in this country and one of the two players that can [replicate Gascoigne].
International reputation in tatters, hooliganism in the streets and intense political pressure on England. This is a football story unlike any other.
Watch the first of three episodes, Italia ‘90: When Football Changed Forever, from Monday, 9pm on @Channel4 pic.twitter.com/zzQUqxkSow
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“If you asked me what Englishman could play in Barcelona’s 2011 side, it would be Foden, without a shadow of a doubt.
“The fact he is being coached by the manager of that team at this moment in time enhances that as well.
“Him and Jude Bellingham are maybe the two who could make such a difference and make a real name for themselves and stand out, because they have qualities that most people wouldn’t typically see from an Englishman.”
Southgate’s side endured a miserable Nations League campaign and were relegated to League B after shock defeats against Hungary and Italy.
But Foden is continuing to thrive for City after hitting a stunning hat-trick – alongside Haaland – in his side’s 6-3 Manchester mauling of local rivals United last month.
Parker added: “If Phil puts an England shirt on, people say he is rubbish and that he can’t do this or he can’t do that.
“Generally that Manchester City team is better than England's, so he is playing with lesser quality.
“He hasn’t got a De Bruyne to knock him the ball or a Bernardo Silva running around like a headless chicken with high-quality skill levels, he hasn’t got the people to play off or a Ruben Dias who can find him with a 60-yard pass.
“He hasn’t got that around him when he plays for England.
“There are players who are decent, so it is really tough, you can match them together and it is very difficult because at the moment, we are okay.
“As individuals we are good, but you cannot judge them on their club form because you have got to look at who they are playing with that are enhancing their ability with their movement and passing ability.”
Parker was speaking ahead of Channel 4 documentary ‘Italia 90: When Football Changed Forever’, which aired its first episode on Monday night and sees Parker feature alongside fellow England stars Stuart Pearce, Paul Gascoigne, John Barnes, Peter Shilton and Steve Bull.
England’s run to the semi-finals – where they suffered penalty heartbreak against Germany – still holds a storied status in Three Lions folklore.
And Parker, who played an unfortunate role in the Germans’ opener before providing the assist for Gary Lineker’s leveller, is thrilled to help shine a light on the tournament over three decades on.
He added: “I’m involved in something that goes on and on and on.
“To see people still talking so passionately about Italia 90 32 years on is just something I never anticipated.
“I thought it would have been done when we got home, and the new season started, usually people move on.
“But you know, it just hasn’t, it hasn’t been allowed to die.”
Italia 90: When Football Changed Forever. Broadcasting on Channel 4 at 9 pm on Monday 31st October, includes interviews with Paul Parker, Stuart Pearce, Paul Gascoigne, John Barnes, Peter Shilton and Steve Bull #Italia90 https://www.channel4.com/