Highlights Of Jack Grealish Vs Belgium Show How Important To Gareth Southgate He Is
Jack Grealish was the star for England in their 2-0 loss to Belgium on Sunday evening and his personal highlights show how good he was.
Many felt Grealish's first start in a competitive fixture was a long time coming, with Gareth Southgate criticised for taking so long, and the Aston Villa captain certainly didn't disappoint.
The Three Lions shipped two goals in the first half in the Nations League game but in the second half dominated the game and created the best chances.
Grealish's flick past Thomas Meunier really caught the attention on social media but his overall performance was just as eye catching.
As is often the case in the Premier League, the most effective way of stopping the 25-year-old seemed to be by fouling him.
In the past Southgate had been mocked for ignoring the praise for Grealish, often heaping it on Mason Mount as a reaction, something the boss laughed about himself last week.
However on Sunday the former Middlesbrough manager was full of praise for the Villa player, saying, "Today was a great game for us to see him in. I couldn't speak highly enough of his performance.
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"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.
"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."
England were missing Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford upfront so the manager, who took the side to the semi-finals of the World Cup two years ago, went with a 5-2-2-1 formation, with Grealish and Mason Mount behind Harry Kane.
Though they created more chances than Belgium, and dominated possession for long periods, the lack of pace and penetration was quite telling.
There were arguably more positives for the team than in their 2-1 win over Belgium at Wembley in October, when a Rashford penalty and a Mount deflected goal earned them a surprise win.
The loss ended any hopes of England finishing top of their Nations League group with just the game against Iceland on Wednesday to play.
From now on if Grealish isn't playing it'll be to rest him or to experiment with other players, which will be a welcome change.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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