Jack Grealish picked up just his third international cap for England in a friendly against Ireland earlier this month where the Three Lions were comfortable 3-0 winners.
Up until that game at Wembley, Grealish has often had to settle for a place on the bench, with Southgate favouring others in his squad for the role which the Villa man can play.
Given his hot form for Villa this season, it’s quite surprising that Grealish is being used so sparingly. At times, the national team have cried out for a player like the attacking midfielder. This was certainly the case when they played out a 0-0 draw with Denmark in the Nations League in September.
Some pundits in the game have been calling for Southgate not only to start the 25-year-old more but also build his team around him. There is an argument for saying that England have not had a player with a similar offering to the team since Paul Gascoigne. Quite a compliment!
It is worth remembering that Grealish chose to play for England over Ireland. He featured for the latter at various levels up under-21s.
However, after a chat with Southgate, he was persuaded to choose England at senior level.
Grealish is going to be pushing hard to make sure he is a starter for Euro 2020 next summer. This would be his maiden major tournament as a senior player. England are 11/2 in the football betting to lift the trophy at Wembley, a reflection of how strong their chances are.
Southgate Has Been Criticised for Being Negative
The problem Grealish has had is that the England boss has set his team up to be very solid in midfield. Often there have been 2-3 holding players in the team to give the defence that extra protection.
With the likes of Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Marcus Rashford and Harry Kane available to Southgate, it might be time for the Three Lions manager to take the handbrakes off and really have a go at teams.
Not many international teams can match England going forward. They proved what they are capable of when they beat the number one side in the world, Belgium, earlier this year. It would be great to see many of their attacking stars, including Grealish, in the same team, with the view being they would score more than the opposition.
All International Managers Have Their Favourites
As we often find in international football, managers tend to have their favourites, which can be quite frustrating as it does not always mean the best XI players are selected. This could well be the case with England.
Southgate has been quite loyal to certain players who helped the Three Lions reach the semi-final of the World Cup in 2018. Even when they have not been regulars for their clubs, they have still made the squad, and in some cases, featured in the starting XI.
The best thing Grealish can do from now until the end of the season is to produce his best football for Aston Villa. Hopefully, that takes care of things as there will be a lot of pressure on Southgate to give the player a greater role in his team, something he absolutely deserves.
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