‘Can’t start a fire without a spark,’ roared the England fans here in Cologne to the melody of Bruce Springsteen’s classic Dancing In The Dark as they expressed their appreciation of Phil Foden’s mercurial talents.

It’s the chant that’s taken Euro 2024 by storm. Problem is: Foden hasn’t exactly Bossed it here in Germany.

Another Springsteen song: Darkness On The Edge Of Town, would be more apt to describe his impact so far.

Three matches in, we’re still waiting for him to completely catch fire, although Tuesday night finally offered some rays of encouragement.

He set-up Bukayo Saka’s disallowed goal in the first half after narrowly straying offside while his influence and impact was far greater than in the previous two games.

Phil Foden delivered an improved display against Slovenia, and needs to be given more of a chance to be England's playmaker

Phil Foden delivered an improved display against Slovenia, and needs to be given more of a chance to be England's playmaker

Phil Foden delivered an improved display against Slovenia, and needs to be given more of a chance to be England’s playmaker

He flickered into life at times, but still isn't at his best out on the left wing

He flickered into life at times, but still isn't at his best out on the left wing

He flickered into life at times, but still isn’t at his best out on the left wing

Foden set up Saka following a lovely team move but was just offside in the build-up

Foden set up Saka following a lovely team move but was just offside in the build-up

Foden set up Saka following a lovely team move but was just offside in the build-up

Gareth Southgate needs to seriously consider moving Foden into a central role

Gareth Southgate needs to seriously consider moving Foden into a central role

Gareth Southgate needs to seriously consider moving Foden into a central role

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Foden was making things happen in the way we’ve all become accustomed. Still not to the level he should – but his performance here was much improved.

We hold Foden to a higher standard to others in this England team.

We know what he’s capable of. Foden, the Premier League and Football Writers Association player of the year, shouldn’t be on the peripheries of this tournament. He should be under the spotlight. Centre stage.

Not shunted out on the left, only to be moved into the centre of the field when tactical nuances allow.

Move him into England’s central attacking berth, into the area Foden was ‘Born To Run’.

The solution seems pretty clear: move Jude Bellingham into central midfield alongside Declan Rice and unleash Foden to No 10 because this boy’s too good to be on the ‘Edge Of Town’.

Foden’s best work here against the dogged Slovenians was when he was permitted licence to roam inside.

His mere presence on the pitch creates space for other as opposing defenders constantly double up on him.

Yet for some reason, Southgate appears reluctant to move him inside. Even when the decision was made to substitute Conor Gallagher at half-time, the Chelsea midfielder was replaced by rookie Kobbie Mainoo.

The obvious solution to England's problems appears to be to push Jude Bellingham (left) deeper, with Foden coming into the No10 role

The obvious solution to England's problems appears to be to push Jude Bellingham (left) deeper, with Foden coming into the No10 role

The obvious solution to England’s problems appears to be to push Jude Bellingham (left) deeper, with Foden coming into the No10 role

Conor Gallagher failed his audition to play in central midfield for the rest of the tournament as he was hauled off at half time

Conor Gallagher failed his audition to play in central midfield for the rest of the tournament as he was hauled off at half time

Conor Gallagher failed his audition to play in central midfield for the rest of the tournament as he was hauled off at half time

The nation is crying out for Foden to become England’s middle man. It seems Southgate isn’t entirely convinced.

Ahead of the knockout rounds, Southgate biggest quandary is how to unlock the very best version of Foden.

Indeed, as we approach the next General Election, it is perhaps ironic that England’s left is under scrutiny again.

The fact Kieran Trippier, who is playing left back, is naturally right-footed doesn’t lend itself to Foden conventionally receiving the ball down England’s left.

There have even been calls for Anthony Gordon to start ahead of Foden here. There’s logic to that idea — Gordon plays there for Newcastle where Trippier is a team-mate. But not having Foden in this team is illogical. Southgate has to find a way to play to his strengths

There are certain mitigating circumstances as to why Foden hasn’t hit the heights we’d hoped.

For starters, he doesn’t have the blistering pace of Erling Haaland to hit with his deft but deadly through balls.

He doesn’t have Kevin De Bruyne or Bernardo Silva finding him with ease. He doesn’t have the power of Josko Gvardiol providing reassurance behind him.

Kieran Trippier (right) being naturally right-footed has meant England have had no width down the left

Kieran Trippier (right) being naturally right-footed has meant England have had no width down the left

Kieran Trippier (right) being naturally right-footed has meant England have had no width down the left

Luke Shaw could have made a difference but he is still sidelined as he recovers from injury, and England must find another solution

Luke Shaw could have made a difference but he is still sidelined as he recovers from injury, and England must find another solution

Luke Shaw could have made a difference but he is still sidelined as he recovers from injury, and England must find another solution

Who knows, had England had a fit Luke Shaw available here in Germany, then England’s left-side wouldn’t have looked as restricted as it has so far.

But Shaw doesn’t look like he will play much of a part at this tournament, so Southgate needs an alternative solution to why his team’s left-side isn’t functioning as it should.

But whatever problems England need to resolve here ahead of the round of 16, Foden has to be part of the answer.

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