Southgate springs a huge surprise for the England v Wales friendly

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As England step out at Wembley against Wales on Thursday evening, Gareth Southgate will once again get the chance to assess the relative merits of his playing staff.

With two competitive games to come directly after this friendly, it gives the players involved against Ryan Giggs’ side a real opportunity to stake their claims for the matches against Belgium and Denmark.

One player who had been hammering on the door for months but who was only handed his England debut a few weeks ago is Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish.

After his stunning individual performance against Liverpool, in which he provided two goals and three assists, Southgate couldn’t ignore his claims any longer.

To that end, Grealish will be handed his first start against Wales according to the Daily Mirror, and it will be interesting to see just how influential he is.

His inclusion hasn’t really come as a surprise, but making Kieran Trippier the captain is a decision that’s come out of nowhere, regardless of whether England will field a changed XI for the friendly.

The Atletico Madrid full-back has had a quiet La Liga campaign thus far and the responsibility of the armband has to be the highlight of his 2020/21 season.

More Stories Gareth Southgate Jack Grealish Kieran Trippier Ryan Giggs