England manager Gareth Southgate has revealed that Aston Villa playmaker Jack Grealish must play in the Premier League if he wants to earn a Three Lions cap, as per reports from the Telegraph.
The 23-year old has been a breath of fresh air for Dean Smith’s men since his return from injury last month, helping the Villans climb into the Sky Bet Championship play-off spots after four league wins on the bounce.
There were claims that the Villa star, who has scored four goals and produced five assists for the team this season, should have been called up to the England squad for the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers, after an impressive season thus far.
But Southgate confirmed that Grealish is hindered by playing in the second-tier.
“I’m not going to say we won’t pick a player from the Championship because that could happen but it’s far more difficult to assess his level.”
“You see certain parts of the game but not others. Not the physicality at times, nor the tactical discipline. That’s another level in the Premier League: the speed, the pace. So, he’s a player we know all about, he’s a player we track. But that last bit of evidence that could give you confidence to pick him at the moment we won’t see.”
Grealish has been linked with a big-money move to top-flight giants Tottenham Hotspur for what seems an eternity now, so it remains to be seen whether a move to the North London club would aid him in his chances of gaining a call-up.
Villa currently sit 6th in the Championship, with just eight games of the season left to play.
This is really surprising from Southgate, as I feel that Grealish should definitely be given a call-up soon.
He is easily Premier League quality, hence why Mauricio Pochettino clearly rates him so highly and wants him to sign for Spurs.
He may not be the fastest of players, but he has so much quality on the ball and he’d be perfect for England.
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