England manager Gareth Southgate has explained why Jack Grealish didn’t play a minute during his side’s 1-0 defeat to Denmark yesterday night.
Southgate showed some reluctance to call-up Grealish prior to the international break in September, but the Aston Villa skipper now has two caps for his country.
The second of those came in a 3-0 demolition of Wales last week, a game in which Grealish was man of the match. He was virtually unplayable as England came up trumps.
However, much to his displeasure no doubt, the 25-year-old has not played a minute since. He didn’t feature during England’s win over Belgium, nor did he last night, despite the Three Lions lacking attacking intent.
As the Daily Star report, Southgate was quizzed after the game as to why Grealish wasn’t involved. They quote the England manager providing the following explanation:
“Well we had to go with speed in the wide areas and athleticism in the wide areas. With 10 players, you have to do such a shift without the ball.”
“I thought Mason and Marcus done that really well. They defended well and they gave us a threat and connected. Mason nearly scored with a header. We thought to get Dominic and Jadon on when you are having to wait for the moments to press.”
“To wait for the moment to attack, you need speed. Harry was winning every header in the second half, holding the play up and winning fouls, which meant we could get set plays into the box. It’s a different game with 10, absolutely.”
“It threw a lot of plans out the window, frankly.”
Southgate has plenty of talent available to him in attacking areas. When you consider that Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho didn’t start any of the three fixtures over the break, it gives you an idea of the difficult decisions he’s having to make.
Grealish will get his opportunities, but he must remain patient – and so must everybody else who is so keen to see him play for his country.