Phil Foden insists he has no concerns over comparisons to Paul Gascoigne as he targets European Championship glory with England.
The Manchester City forward courted further similarities as he arrived at St George’s Park to continue preparations for Sunday’s opener against Croatia with dyed blonde hair.
Gascoigne sported the same style during Euro 96 as he shone in England’s run to the semi-finals.
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Foden enjoyed a fine season at City, scoring 16 goals and winning PFA Young Player of the Year as Pep Guardiola’s side won the Premier League and Carabao Cup double as well as reaching the Champions League final.
The 21-year-old did not feature in either of England’s warm-up wins following an extended break after the loss to Chelsea in the Champions League showpiece but is in contention to start on Sunday.
England face Scotland at Wembley on June 18 in the next Group D fixture – a game in which Gascoigne shone at Euro 96 at the same venue, offering further opportunities to compare the duo.
“I remember watching highlights on the TV of Gazza – an unbelievable player,” he said.
Skin-fade Gascoigne has gone full Euro '96 🏴👱🏻♂️ @PhilFoden pic.twitter.com/CQNmXKCGbI
“The full nation know what he means to the country and what he did, so it won’t be too bad if I try to bring a bit of Gazza on to the pitch.
“I don’t think you can listen too much to what people are saying. I have to try and keep my feet on the ground and just being me and keep doing what has done well for me this year.
“I try and come off social media as much as I can. Not try and read it too much.”
Foden will not be the first young player to go into a major tournament with England carrying a weight of expectation on his shoulders.
He believes too much is sometimes expected of young talent but feels the current crop – with Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad having an average age of under 25 – will shrug off those expectations in an attempt to secure silverware this summer.
“I believe that is true,” he replied when asked if players are elevated too early.
“When someone is doing well, the media jump all over it but we have a lot of young players in the team.
“They are all very level-headed so it’s not going to get to me or any of the young players, we are just going to keep focused and just try and bring it home.”
Asked if his new look was a tribute to Gascoigne, Foden added: “I’ve had the same haircut for what seems like ages now so I thought I’d just try something new.
“I woke up this morning with a lot of comparisons to Gazza and Eminem so yeah it was my own thing and people have turned it into something else.
“They (his England team-mates) have said that they’ve liked it so it’s a positive. It’s all been positive – which I’ve been surprised about.”
Shaw: A year ago I was out the conversation
Luke Shaw admits his England return looked doubtful just 12 months ago.
The Manchester United defender is preparing for his first international tournament since the 2014 World Cup after fighting his way back into Southgate’s plans.
He said: “It’s extremely special to make the 26-man squad, if you look at this time last year, speaking about it, I wouldn’t have been mentioned by anyone or at all with Gareth.
“At the start of the season there was an aim to get back into the squad. I’m very privileged to be here and really looking forward to the next few weeks ahead.”
Shaw was left out of Euro 2016 and the World Cup squad in 2018 when the Three Lions reached the semi-finals as he struggled for form and fitness at Old Trafford but has shone this season.
He won United’s Player of the Year award and made his first international appearance since September 2018 in the World Cup qualifying win over Albania in March.
Checking in at basecamp 📍
Let's get to work! 👊 pic.twitter.com/5FdnyCiVnO
He said: “It was kind of expected back then (2018), I wasn’t playing much, I wasn’t on the top of my form. You always have a bit of hope to be able to get into the squad – but at that point it wasn’t enough.
“It only motivated me even more to get back to my best and to prove to Gareth I want to be a part of his squad.
“Obviously with the situation with Covid maybe, if it was last year, I’m not too sure I would have been a part of it.
“I knew this season there was a chance to get back into the squad and I’ve worked so hard to try to prove Gareth I deserve to be there. Thankfully he has picked me and I’m here.”
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