Former Manchester City left-back Michael Ball believes Jack Grealish must join the Premier League champions if he wants to ensure a starting berth in Gareth Southgate’s England side ahead of Qatar 2022.
Pep Guardiola has been keen to sign Aston Villa captain Grealish this summer, with reports suggesting City are set to offer £100million for the attacking midfielder.
Grealish, who was England’s poster boy during their run to a first-ever European Championships final earlier this month, is Villa’s highest-paid player and has four years remaining on his £120,000-per-week deal.
As a result, Villa are not in a position where they need to sell their talisman and hold a strong negotiating position should City firm up their interest.
The 25-year-old made 27 appearances last season, contributing seven goals and 12 assists.
Ball feels Grealish needs to leave his boyhood club if he wants to become a member of Southgate’s preferred England starting line-up ahead of next year’s World Cup in Qatar.
Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, Ball said: “We know how much he is a Villa fan but, at the end of the day, he’ll want to break into that England side for the World Cup and he wants to be one of the key players.
“I feel for him to improve, so Gareth Southgate has no doubts as to whether to play him, he has to move on. What better manager is there to play under than Guardiola?
“If Manchester City come calling, he’s got to go. If that move happens, he is the number one pick for the World Cup.”