This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
Gareth Southgate announced a 27-man squad for his side’s upcoming games against Montenegro and Kosovo, and although reports have suggested that Jack Grealish’s fitness have played a part in the Aston Villa midfielder’s exclusion from selection, even if the 24-year-old had been fit, the England boss would have been right to omit him from his squad.
Much has been made of Grealish’s start to the 2019/20 campaign after having captained his boyhood club to promotion via the Championship play-offs and granted, the skilful playmaker has impressed at times, scoring two goals and registering three assists.
But when you consider that these numbers are a replica of Anwar El Ghazi’s attacking output so far this season, has Grealish really been impressing for Dean Smith’s side?
But when assessing where Grealish would fit within the complexion of the Three Lions’ squad, there is arguably no room for a player whose abilities are not directly aligned to producing attacking output.
The likes of Mason Mount and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be looking to secure themselves a starting berth in England’s midfield options, and when compared to the recently selected duo, it is difficult to state that Grealish offers more within the attacking spots.
Mount has already bagged four goals in 2019/20 while amassing a considerable 2.6 shots per game, via WhoScored. Oxlade-Chamberlain, on the other hand, has also scored four times. That’s from just six starts in all competitions.
Those at Villa may feel that any suggestion Grealish is ill-qualified for international duty is an unreasonable suggestion, given his influential role in his side’s ascendancy over the last two seasons, but the playmaker is not contributing with enough vigour and regularity to be considered a definite selection for England.
Whether Villa’s captain will make the cut for Euro 2020 remains to be seen, but on the basis of current form in the 2019/20 campaign, regardless of fitness, Southgate has made the right call in not selecting Grealish for November’s international break.
To be considered, he needs to do more.