Southgate and Fabregas praise ‘outstanding’ Grealish in England defeat

The Aston Villa star put in another eye-catching performance for the Three Lions as he pushed his case for a starting spot

Jack Grealish has done his chances of becoming a regular starter for England no harm after a strong individual performance in a 2-0 defeat to Belgium in the Nations League on Sunday. 

The 25-year-old started on the left wing for Gareth Southgate’s side and was one of the Three Lions’ sharper players when on the ball. 

Grealish completed the second most take-ons (4), while he was also fouled a game-high seven times as Belgium did anything they could to try and contain him. 

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The bright performance provided some silver-lining for England, who now won’t be able to make the Nations League finals, with Southgate quick to single out Grealish for filling an attacking void.

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“I thought we were excellent. I couldn’t have enough praise for the players,” Southgate told Sky Sports post-match. 

“We had a different profile of players but in those positions I thought Jack Grealish had an absolutely outstanding game. Losing Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, we lose a lot of speed. But I can’t fault the attacking play until the last chance.

“We created far more opportunities than we did at Wembley. I saw what I knew I would see from Jack, someone with the bravery to play. He took the ball in tight areas, his technique was good, we knew he would buy a lot of free-kicks. I thought he was outstanding, he should be delighted. I explained to him what we wanted to see when we brought him in in September.

“Today was a great game for us to see him in. I couldn’t speak highly enough of his performance.” 

Grealish’s strong showing also caught the eye of Premier League legend Cesc Fabregas, whose one observation of the match on social media centred around the Villa captain. 

— Cesc Fàbregas Soler (@cesc4official) November 15, 2020

The attacker will now be hoping to back up his performance on Wednesday when England host Iceland at Wembley. 

Grealish’s promising displays for the Three Lions come on the back of a strong start to the season with Villa, where has scored four goals and provided five assists across just seven Premier League appearances. 

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