England manager Gareth Southgate has said that fierce competition for places continues to deny Aston Villa star Jack Grealish a spot with the Three Lions.
Southgate confirmed his squad on Tuesday for September’s Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark. Among the squad were Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood, who both received their first call-up to England’s senior side.
Grealish, though, continues to search for his first England call, despite a season that saw him score eight Premier League goals and add six assists as he helped lead Villa to safety.
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Explaining Grealish’s continued omission, Southgate has said that the 24-year-old is unfortunate to play a position that has plenty of depth.
“The difficulty for Jack is Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford,” Southgate said. “We have got incredible players in those positions, we have got competition for places. Those four have either been with us for a long time and been exceptional in their performances for us, in terms of Marcus and Raheem.”Jadon is just breaking through and I think everybody is aware of his potential, and Mason Greenwood’s goalscoring record and performances with Manchester United were outstanding.
“It is an area of the field where we have people like Callum Hudson-Odoi as well. I know at times Villa play Jack as a midfield player – that is not as I see him in the way we play.
“So with us he would be a wide player or a 10, and at the moment I think we have got players who deserve to be in just ahead of him.”
Another player who missed out is Inter wing-back Ashley Young, who had been tipped for a recall after some strong performances for Antonio Conte’s side.
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Southgate has said the 35-year-old is still in his thoughts and may have even earned a place had the European Championships taken place this year as originally planned.
“Ashley was a fantastic member of our squad [at the 2018 World Cup] in Russia,” Southgate said. “I’m so pleased for him how he has gone on at Inter and continued to impress – when we didn’t select him post-Russia it was about trying to bed in some younger players and a competition like the Nations League is a good time to do it.
“For players like Ashley Young and Jamie Vardy, if you were heading to a major tournament they are players you would have to think about taking.”
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