Gareth Southgate Jokes He Has To Talk About Mason Mount 'For The Memes'
Ask Gareth Southgate a question about Jack Grealish and he will somehow get Mason Mount into his answer, it's a popular meme and the England manager is all too aware of it.
Grealish made his first international start against Wales in October, put in a man of the match performance and then didn't play in the next two internationals as England lacked creativity against Belgium and Denmark.
Following the win over Wales, Southgate was asked about the Aston Villa captain's impressive performance and the England boss was soon talking about Mount's impact as a substitute.
It quickly became a meme, and one that the manager revealed he was aware of when asked about Grealish playing, during his press conference on Wednesday.
"I suppose on that you're referring to Mason, whose only crime is not to be Jack at the moment," Southgate joked.
"I'm also aware I should talk about Mason because then it keeps the memes going of me talking about Mason.
"So we have got to fulfil all those requirements just to keep the Villa fans happy, especially. What would they be able to do on social media if they didn't have that opportunity? So, yes, of course I'm aware Jack's playing well."
"So Gareth 2 goals and 3 assists today for Jack Grealish. An outstanding display again wasn't it?"- James Richmond (@JamesRichmond17) October 4, 2020
Well first of all we should talk about Mason Mount yesterday. The way he supported his team from the bench in that 4-0 win was outstanding" pic.twitter.com/pCkzNmy8pc
Earlier on Thursday, Mount had spoken about his 'rivalry' with Grealish, claiming there wasn't one, and said that both could play in the same XI together for the national team.
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The manager seemed to agree with that and said the Chelsea midfielder would be asked to play "a slightly different role" against Ireland, with both men expected to start.
Southgate, who led the Three Lions to the semi-final of the World Cup in 2018, also said they weren't 'blind to a good player.'
Grealish would have almost certainly missed out on the Euros had it been played last summer but the delay until next summer has given him a great chance of making it.
The manager explained why the 25-year-old wasn't being picked in squad's until recently, saying, "After Christmas, Jack was 22 games and one goal.
"We knew a good player, but not in the form that maybe people were suggesting when you compared to how many goals [Mason] Greenwood had scored and the way [Phil] Foden had played at the end of lockdown, and we knew what [Marcus] Rashford and [Raheem] Sterling had produced.
"So, now he's now four goals in seven matches, plus one cleared off the line against Leeds, one cleared off the line against Arsenal, creating chances - the goal he created the other day where he's holding [Hector] Bellerin off and able to find the pass while running at full tilt.
"I think we've challenged him on a couple of parts of his game and his response to that has been brilliant. I still think that some of the other players we're talking about are very good players as well and I think it's a shame that, Mason in particular, there seems criticism of him at his club as well in a similar way."
After England face Ireland, who Grealish could have been playing for had he not decided to change allegiances four years ago, they face Belgium and Iceland in the Nations League in the next week.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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