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Gareth Southgate insists Phil Foden 'did an incredible job' in England's victory against Serbia

Gareth Southgate knows people want to see the "sexy" side of Phil Foden but believes England would have failed to beat Serbia was it not for his incredible work off the ball.

The Euro 2020 runners-up began their quest for continental glory in Germany with a hard-fought 1-0 win courtesy of Jude Bellingham's early header on Sunday.

England started the tournament opener brightly but had to dig deep to see off Serbia, leading to the performance to be pored over in great detail by fans and pundits alike.

Foden's performance has come under the spotlight given he has yet to take his sparkling Manchester City displays onto the international scene, but Southgate is more than happy with him.

In fact, he praised the 24-year-old's key role ahead of Thursday's second Group C match against Denmark in Frankfurt.

"I thought Phil did an incredible job for the team on Sunday," Southgate told ITV.

"You know, sometimes the bits with the ball are obvious and they catch the eye, but the amount of ground he covered, the angles of pressing, the filling in for people who were further forward.

"I thought without Phil's contribution without the ball — and I know that's not the sexy bit and everybody wants to see him on the ball — I don't think we win the game.

"So then later in the game when we needed somebody to retain the ball and take the pressure, I thought he did that really well for us."

Asked if he agreed there was another level to come for Foden, the England boss added: "I think Phil has obviously set an incredibly high bar at Manchester City, where he knows exactly where every player is going to be every time he picks the ball up.

"A club that he's been at since he's been 13 years old. He used to go in there during the week for training, so an environment that he's known nothing else.

"With us, we're always having to adapt to different team-mates, different runs they make and there is adaptation with that."

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