England told Mason Mount is being made a ‘scapegoat’ at World Cup

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England star Mason Mount is being made a “scapegoat” at the World Cup after Gareth Southgate’s side played out a stalemate with the USA on Friday, according to former American goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Southgate was criticised for not bringing Manchester City man Phil Foden off the bench in the second group stage game in place of Mount, who played the entire 90 minutes as the Three Lions failed to find the back of the net.

The majority of the post-match discourse centred around Foden and his surprise omission from the game. He came on for Mount during the 6-2 drubbing of Iran and impressed in his short cameo, but despite calls for Foden to play Friedel has claimed the criticism of the Chelsea man is “unfair” and has made him a scapegoat.

“I think criticism of Mount after one match is unfair,” Friedel told Online Casino. “Everyone can have a bad performance and he’s been made a scapegoat a bit which isn’t right. Going individually into one man’s display isn’t right. Looking into Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah would be a better idea as they were fantastic and they deserve more praise.

“If Mount continues to have underwhelming performances then criticism is warranted but you can’t pick him out individually for one poor game. Mount came up against players who are really physical.”

England have strong competition in the number ten role, as Mount has not just Foden for company but also James Maddison who has recently returned to full training in time for the Wales clash on Tuesday. It is unlikely that the Leicester star will be available to start against Rob Page’s side, though he could get some minutes off the bench.

Another issue for Mount is if Southgate opts to switch to a three-at-the-back system, it would mean one of the forwards missing out. Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling have been mainstays under Southgate, and following Bukayo Saka’s emergence on the right flank it could mean that Mount drops out in the latter stages of the tournament.

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Southgate brought Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford, Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier off the bench on Friday but Foden cut a disappointed figure as he remained on the sidelines.

Southgate was quickly asked why he decided against using Foden against the USA, in a game where his side lacked quality and creativity in midfield.

“We thought it was the right thing to keep the team from the start then the wide players we went with Jack and Marcus ahead of Phil for the changes,” Southgate replied. “Jack can keep the ball well for us and get us up the pitch, Marcus’ speed we thought would also be a threat going into the last part of the game.”

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