Phil Foden leaves England camp for 'family matter' to hand Cole Palmer and Eberechi Eze chance

Gareth Southgate has been rocked by the news that Phil Foden has had to leave the England camp in Germany due to a "pressing family matter". Foden has started all of the games in England's thus far underwhelming Euro 2024 campaign.

The Three Lions have made it through to the knockout stages, topping group C despite only scoring two goals in their three group matches. They will find out who they will play in the last 16 after tonight's final round of group matches.

Foden was one of the ones who has been criticised so far in the tournament, although he did improve against Slovenia on Tuesday night. The Premier League player of the season is a key member of Southgate's team but now there will be doubts over whether or not he will be available for Sunday's last 16 encounter.

An FA statement read: "Phil Foden has temporarily left the England camp and returned to the UK for a pressing family matter."

England's next game will be on Sunday at 5pm, although it is now expected that he will be available to return for that clash. BBC reporter Dan Roan has reported that Foden is returning home for the birth of his child and that he is expected back by Sunday.

His trip back home may well hand other players in the squad an opportunity for a starting berth. Newcastle's Anthony Gordon will be the likely winner of the situation, having replaced Foden late on against Slovenia on Tuesday.

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But there are other players who can step up if required, players who will be looking for more of a chance under Southgate. Chelsea star Cole Palmer was bright when he replaced Bukayo Saka on the right against Slovenia. He is not known for playing on the left, but could play in the number ten role, where Foden could have played should Southgate wish to change things, with Jude Bellingham below par thus far.

Crystal Palace ace Eberechi Eze is another who could benefit from Foden being absent, capable of playing across the front line.