• June 20, 2021

Exclusive: Gareth Southgate drops hint Jack Grealish could start for England in No.10 role for Euro 2020 opener against Croatia

 Exclusive: Gareth Southgate drops hint Jack Grealish could start for England in No.10 role for Euro 2020 opener against Croatia


Gareth Southgate has suggested Jack Grealish could retain his position in the No.10 role for England when they take on Croatia in their Euro 2020 opener next weekend after a strong showing against Austria.

The Aston Villa captain started just behind captain Harry Kane on Wednesday night at the Riverside and was unlucky to not be credited for the assist as the Three Lions claimed a 1-0 win.

Southgate was pleased with what he saw from Grealish against Austria

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Southgate was pleased with what he saw from Grealish against Austria

Although Grealish missed most of the finale of the Premier League season, his return to the Villa side and subsequent inclusion for Southgate’s squad suggests the mandated rest period has actually benefitted the 25-year-old.

And with just over a week until the first game of the rearranged European Championship, Southgate hinted fans could see Grealish retain his role behind captain Kane.

He told talkSPORT’s Faye Carruthers: “There’s an element with what we did on the other night, and on Sunday, to get the players we want onto the pitch to perform at their best.

“We have forwards who can play across the front line and Jack is one of those. He can play on the left and the right, but less impactful on the right, even though I have seen him play there.

Credit must go to the Aston Villa captain, who seemed to be a doubt for the tournament full stop at one stage

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Credit must go to the Aston Villa captain, who seemed to be a doubt for the tournament full stop at one stage

“We know Jack’s strengths, you saw those the other night, he can carry the ball and draw players.

“He earned a lot of free kicks and almost got an assist, although I think it was a tackle!

“He was always in those dangerous areas, he has progressed and we are pleased he is back.

“His match fitness and match sharpness is still coming, but it’s good he is heading in a positive direction.”

A front three of Grealish, Kane and Bukayo Saka ran Austria ragged

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A front three of Grealish, Kane and Bukayo Saka ran Austria ragged

Having grabbed six goals and 10 assists in the Premier League this season for Villa – albeit mostly from the left-hand side – it may well be Grealish is not involved in the final warm-up game against Romania on Sunday to give him ample time to rest.

Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling have returned late to the squad after their European exploits at club level, although it is unclear when or if they will be included in Southgate’s starting plans.

talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 will have live commentary of EVERY game of Euro 2020. You won’t miss a thing as we bring you round the clock coverage, reaction and analysis from June 11-July 11. Listen online HERE.





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