Phil Foden expects England stars to break Paul Gascoigne promise if Three Lions win Euros | Football | Sport


Phil Foden is fearful that his England team-mates will back out of their agreement to share his haircut if they win the Euros. The deal struck before the opening game was for everyone in the squad to bleach their hair blonde should they England lift the trophy but with the side only 90 minutes from going all the way, Foden can sense backtracking.

Foden has been likened to Paul Gascoigne with his bleached look eerily reminiscent to Gazza’s Euro 96 trim, and the Manchester City midfielder even posted on Instagram last month when sporting his new look: “Euro 96 vibes.”

But the 21-year-old attacking midfielder is not that confident his England team-mates will stick to their promise, after they vowed to get similar haircuts if they won this summer’s tournament.

“I’ve told them but I’m feeling they are not going to do it,” he said. “We’ve still got a tough final to win. If we win I’d like to think they’d stick to their word but we’ll see.”

The semi-final win against Denmark saw Foden involved for the first time since the draw against Scotland with an important role off the bench.

However he revealed the party on the team bus back to St George’s Park afterwards was not quite as much fun for him as his team-mates.

“We have a few people playing a speaker at the front of the bus and there is one at the back. Unfortunately I sit in the middle and it’s a headache. It’s not the greatest. The people at the front are into different music to the ones at the back,” he said.

“[Tyrone] Mings, Conor [Coady] and Hendo [Jordan Henderson] at the front, Raz [Raheem Sterling] and Sanch [Jadon Sancho] with their type of music at the back. And you get me stuck in the middle with one in each ear.

“I’m into my old school RnB, I’ve just not grown out of it. It’s stuck with me forever. So I put my headset on and try to watch something.”

John Stones was meanwhile radiating a state of zen-like calm at St George’s Park on Friday – a reflection of his month with England at a tournament he would almost certainly have been left out of had it been staged when it was meant to be.

Stones’s serene showing at these Euros will earn him a full set of starts when Gareth Southgate names his side for the final – quite a bounce-back after a 16-month exile from the England squad which only ended in March.

A 2020 Euros would have fallen on his downswing – he could barely scrape a game with Manchester City – but this championship has seen him at his best.

The Stones who bombed in England’s previous semi-final in 2019 against Holland in the Nations League was replaced by a Stones who soared against Denmark in Wednesday’s semi-final.

“I think all those times have made me who I am now. I wish there was an easier route but that is football,” said Stones.

“I think in any walk of life you have setbacks and I have tried to learn from them and stay positive and stay true to myself. I think on Sunday, if selected, it will be a massive moment for me and my family especially going through tough times.

“All the hard work and dedication come into my mind and maybe I realise why I have worked so hard to be where I am right now. It is a proud moment. Hopefully I will start and experience what we have experienced already at Wembley with the fans.”

The febrile atmosphere which set the scene for the wins over Germany and Denmark is in stark contrast to the icy equilibrium he will attempt to take into the game.

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Southgate’s assessment is that for all the noise, England play their best when they are measured rather than crazed, and Stones agrees.

He added “The manager has got a unique quality of staying calm in situations and it passes through the team. The other day was the first time we had been to extra-time and no-one panicked or got ahead of ourselves. We stayed calm and stuck to the game plan and it worked out well for us.

“If it takes us to extra-time or the 89th minute, we’ve got to be patient. It’s one of the qualities we’ve got as a team now.

“On big occasions you can’t panic or start to rush things and get sloppy. That’s when you get picked off.”

For all his tranquility yesterday, Stones appreciates the stakes. England really do stand on the precipice of something extraordinary.

The only remaining question is whether they can finish the job on Sunday night.

“We have come so far as a team and made a lot of history and Sunday is another chance for us to do that. That is something that motivates me, excites me and really pushes me on,” said Stones.

“It is about being as prepared as we can be and giving everything for each other, this shirt and the nation.”

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