‘We had to go with speed and athleticism in the wide areas’: Gareth Southgate defends decision not to bring Jack Grealish on against Denmark… but Jamie Redknapp queries England manager’s reasoning for overlooking Aston Villa star
- Gareth Southgate has defended his decision not to play Jack Grealish
- England attempted a fightback against Denmark, having been 1-0 down
- Southgate turned to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jadon Sancho, not Grealish
- Jamie Redknapp has queried the England boss’s rationale for the decision
Gareth Southgate has outlined the reason why he opted not to call on Jack Grealish as England attempted to muster a fightback against Denmark, much to the bemusement of Jamie Redknapp.
The Three Lions started the UEFA Nations League tie strongly but the hosts lost control of the tie following Harry Maguire’s red card, shortly followed by a penalty awarded against Kyle Walker.
Christian Eriksen stepped up for the spot kick and made no mistake in dispatching beyond Jordan Pickford, giving Southgate’s side a mountain to climb at Wembley on Wednesday.
Gareth Southgate has explained why he chose not to sub Jack Grealish on against Denmark
The Aston Villa star was an unused substitute as England lost 1-0 to the Danes at Wembley
The England boss turned to Grealish’s Aston Villa team-mate Tyrone Mings as he shuffled his shape to a back four after Maguire’s dismissal.
And when England searched for an equaliser in the second half, Southgate called on Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jadon Sancho, instead of the in-form Villa captain.
Southgate explained the decisions to substitute the Everton and Dortmund stars ahead of Grealish as a need to maintain speed in wide areas, while Calvert-Lewin would offer increased presence on free kicks.
‘We had to go with speed in the wide areas and athleticism in the wide areas because with ten you have got such a shift without the ball. Mason [Mount] and Marcus [Rashford] did that really well,’ he told Sky Sports.
Southgate opted for Sancho (pictured) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin instead of the Villa captain
The England boss said the substitutes he used had greater pace and athleticism than Grealish
‘And we felt to get Dominic on and Jadon because the moments to press you need speed. It’s a different game with ten, so it threw a lot of plans out of the window.
‘The team dug and defended as a solid unit and got our set plays in the box.’
However, Redknapp has queried the England boss’ tactical reasoning behind overlooking Grealish.
‘I don’t agree with what he has said there about Jack Grealish,’ he said. ‘If you want to win set pieces you get the most fouled played in world football on the pitch.’
Grealish risks being yet another talented player not to get the international recognition his talent seemingly warrants, and Redknapp said that the solution for the Villa star is simple.
Jamie Redknapp questioned Southgate’s rationale for the decision to overlook Grealish
The Sky Sports pundit says Grealish risks being another maverick player not to get his chance
‘It’s a difficult one. He hasn’t got to fancy Jack Grealish as a footballer. I think back to Matt Le Tissier, Glenn Hoddle didn’t fancy him.
‘It’s probably driving him mad to answer questions about Jack Grealish but he is different. Just throw him on, get him to do something.
‘It’s simple for him. Go and play great for Aston Villa. It’s a simple equation for him. He is loving his football right now. If he doesn’t fancy him that’s not the end of the world it happens all the time.’