Jack Grealish is the standout player in the England squad and must start at Euro 2020, according to the latest Eurosport x The Beautiful Game podcast collaboration.
The Aston Villa captain has enjoyed a fine season, fuelling rumours over a potential move to Manchester City, and impressed again in the warm-up win over Romania on Sunday.
Gareth Southgate has an arsenal of attacking options to call upon, with Grealish likely battling with Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden over two starting spots. Harry Kane is expected to lead the line, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin as deputy from the bench.
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The England boss has often preferred a Rashford-Kane-Sterling front three, but Dotun Abijoh and Deji Odedina believe Grealish’s form cannot be ignored.
When asked who should start on the left of the front three, Abijoh said: “For me it’s England’s best player, Jack Grealish.”
“Nailed down on the left, I just think he’s a joy to watch. Every time he plays for England he’s man of the match.
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“He’s the only player that gets the ball, makes things happen, keeps it ticking, dribbles past players.
“He just looks world-class and he looks ready to set the world stage alight. For me, Grealish is a mainstay in that team and he’s England’s best player.
“If England want to go far in this tournament, you need to get Jack Grealish on that team sheet. For me, he’s the first name on it.”
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Grealish won a penalty, converted by Rashford, as England ran out 1-0 winners over Romania in their final match before Euro 2020.
They face Croatia on Sunday, with Scotland and Czech Republic also joining them in Group D.
“If this tournament happened 12 months ago, I think Gareth Southgate had his mind set in stone that his front three would be Kane, Sterling and Rashford,” added Odedina on the latest podcast, available on all major platforms now.
“But fast forward and things have changed. Sterling’s form has dwindled, Rashford hasn’t looked at his best.
“I think Grealish is perfectly primed, let’s not forget he missed a large chuck of the season due to injury, had a few games towards the backend of the season.
“He’s picked up from where he’s left off and when you watch him play, it’s just mesmerising.
“The way he manipulates the ball, he drags three or four defenders to him, opening up space for others. Jack Grealish has to start.”
Grealish was only called up for the first time in August last year, with Southgate previously resisting the clamour to include the midfielder. He has seven caps and one goal for England.
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