Premier League

Phil Foden vs David Beckham: Who was better?

Phil Foden

Right from when you enter school, football has the power to turn you into a star.

In those adolescent days, it was freedom of the playground and ability to leave classes early for team commitments. In your teens, you could have a sniff of making it at a real club. If you do make it as a professional, you can become your own brand.

David Beckham set the trend for footballers to be more than just athletes. Nowadays, Phil Foden is hoping to take his talent beyond the pitch.

But who was/is better? It’s a more interesting debate than you might think.

Phil Foden

The way that boy moves / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

We’ll begin with by far the most subjective category, and one with the most subjective answer.

The beauty of Beckham and Foden is though they play the same position, their styles are completely different. They are on opposite ends of the spectrum but are both special in their own way.

There was no crosser of the ball better than Beckham. No one could match the combination of whip and power, make it look like an art of passing rather than hit-and-hope. Foden’s magic comes through mazing dribbles and 25-yard screamers, which can stand out a little more in a sometimes robotic Manchester City team.

But let’s say you were an alien.

Bear with us, this is going somewhere.

Say you were an alien visiting Earth and had no idea what football was. What would you be more impressed by – the guy using his right leg like a golf club to whack the ball 50 yards, or the guy whose got the ball glued to his left boot?

It’s very, very, very tough to choose between them. We’ll go with Foden, but won’t judge you if you think otherwise.


Games played



Goals and assists



Goals and assists-per-game

David Beckham








Phil Foden








An important asterisk next to Beckham’s numbers is a lot of them precede the starting point from where Opta began collecting reliable data in the mid-2000s, so some calculations may be off.

That said, he did very well to match Foden over the course of a full career given the team his younger has come into at City and how football is geared towards forwards building up their stats in the modern day.

Foden gets the edge, but it’s ever so slight.

Landon Donovan, David Beckham

Yes, this counts / Jeff Gross/GettyImages

Wow, we did not think this one was going to be this close.

Beckham hung up his boots having won a total of 19 trophies all over the world. For Foden, he’s currently on 18.

It’s tight. If you want to get picky, the…

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