Ethan Ampadu will have no doubt seen the replays of Jack Grealish embarrassing Virgil van Dijk at the weekend, so it is perhaps understandable that he was reluctant to get too tight to the Aston Villa captain. Grealish had swerved one way and then the other before popping the ball through the legs of Van Dijk, so Ampadu stood off the 25-year-old on the edge of the Wales penalty area in the 26th minute at Wembley. But Grealish used the yard of space to deliver the most perfect of crosses to gift Dominic Calvert-Lewin a debut England goal and register an assist on his first international start. Defenders are often damned if they do and damned if they don’t when faced by Grealish in and around their own areas. Dive in and he can make them look silly, stand off and he can pick a pass or a shot. It is exactly why England manager Gareth Southgate finally bowed to pressure to select Grealish and exactly why the midfield maverick must remain an important part of his plans heading towards next summer’s European Championships. Southgate’s team had been plodding their way through this friendly until Grealish took it upon himself to move to the right side and make something happen. England have pace to burn when the likes of Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho are available, but Grealish is different. He changes the course of games, whether it be through unlocking a defence or winning a crucial free-kick. Southgate must have been delighted with Grealish’s input into England’s opening goal, but he might have been more impressed a couple of minutes later. Often wrongly cast as a ‘luxury player’, Grealish got his team-mate Bukayo Saka off the hook by tracking back and blocking a cross to deny Wales the opportunity to try to hit straight back.
Following on from game-week 5, we take an early look at some of the stand-out fixtures for game-week 6. Here are the fixtures for Game-week 6: Friday Aston Villa vs Leeds Saturday West Ham United vs...
Manchester City, with a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium. Where did they finish? As champions.