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Manchester City and Real Madrid Set the Stage for a Thrilling Champions League Showdown

As Manchester City prepares to host Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium for the decisive second leg of their Champions League quarter-final, the spotlight intensifies on two of England’s brightest talents, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham. Their standout performances this season not only highlight their club prowess but also pose an intriguing selection challenge for England’s manager, Gareth Southgate, particularly for the coveted number 10 role.

Phil Foden has been a revelation for Manchester City, lighting up the Premier League with his dynamic play. His impressive form was evident in the first leg of the quarter-final, where he clinched the man of the match title, thanks to his goal in a thrilling 3-3 draw in Madrid.

On the other side, Jude Bellingham has become a pivotal figure for Real Madrid, commanding attention with his robust performances across Europe. As both players excel in the attacking midfielder position, their contributions are crucial as they head into the upcoming match.

Statistically, both players have shown remarkable consistency in their preferred roles, as evidenced by football statistics website WhoScored. Foden and Bellingham have received almost identical ratings for their performances in the number 10 position, with Foden scoring an average rating of 7.84 and Bellingham just a shade lower at 7.83.

Phil Foden’s stats this season include seven goals and three assists in just ten appearances in the attacking midfield position. Meanwhile, Bellingham has been involved in an impressive 24 goals (16 goals and eight assists) over 25 games in the same role.

The debate over the best position for each player continues. Micah Richards, a former Manchester City defender, has expressed a preference for seeing Foden play centrally. “He finds those small pockets of space and really makes things happen from the middle,” Richards commented on BBC’s Match of the Day.

England’s manager, Gareth Southgate, has also weighed in on Foden’s positioning, hinting at strategic decisions that align with club-level tactics set by Pep Guardiola. Meanwhile, Bellingham’s defensive skills have occasionally seen him deployed in deeper midfield roles, though Southgate views him primarily as an attacking force.

As Manchester City and Real Madrid brace for a pivotal clash, the performances of Foden and Bellingham will not only influence the outcome but also shape the ongoing discussion about England’s optimal lineup as Euro 2024 approaches. The question of who will claim the number 10 jersey remains open, adding an extra layer of intrigue to this European encounter.

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