Calls for Jack Grealish to start for England at Euro 2020 have become deafening following the Three Lions’ flat display in the 0-0 draw with Scotland.
The Aston Villa talisman wasn’t introduced until the 63rd minute at Wembley, surprisingly replacing Phil Foden, who had been one of England’s better players.
Here’s how the national media reacted to Grealish’s latest omission from the starting line-up…
Grealish is the answer – The Mirror
With every game that passes the clamour for Jack Grealish only grows louder.
And it’s hard not to see why, as England again struggled to piece together threatening moves in the final third.
Phil Foden was lively and was England’s driving force, while Raheem Sterling’s link-up play was good at times, but Kane was too often left isolated.
Too many times England’s players were left looking for passes to teammates and ended up running down dead ends that they needed someone between them to knit things together.
Balls over the top were hopeful, rather than purposeful, and England’s failure to really cut open Scotland for much of the match is a concern.
Scotland defended well but they were hardly backs to the wall. Grealish then entered the fray with half an hour to go but was shunted into a wide role and barely saw the ball for long spells.
It’s all very well having balance, but there’s something to be said for building a team round your best players.
Mount is creative, technically brilliant and a true box-to-box midfielder, but he is better from deep and lacks the cunning to be a true No.10 through the middle.
Surely Grealish is the answer.
Southgate made a mistake – The Guardian
Southgate undoubtedly made a mistake by not picking Grealish from the start for an occasion that seemed to be crying out for a little brio and ballsiness in the middle of all the mannered and diligent running. And of course, the mood now will turn.
To pick Jack or not to pick Jack? An hour before kick-off the absence of Jack of the People from the starting XI had already generated its own electricity, with the words “Grealish”, “Jack Grealish” and #Southgateout instant trends on social media.
But then Grealish sits on a faultline in Southgate’s own public image, his roundhead persona, his defensive bent, his lack of popular appeal, his boyish deputy headmaster shtick. Grealish is loose and fun and obviously, cinematically brilliant.
Grealish is a scallywag, a charisma merchant, and here England struggled on exactly the kind of night – wet, messy, jumpy – when he might have flourished.
England lacking without Grealish – The Telegraph
Jack Grealish would have heard the smattering of boos from England supporters inside Wembley at half-time and there was certainly no mistaking the roar of approval when he was finally given his major tournament debut.
The smile on Grealish’s face when he had appeared on the big screens just after half-time showed a man who is desperate to play to the crowd and is relishing his role as England’s next hero in waiting.
No doubt the next demand will be for Grealish to start England’s final group game against the Czech Republic, as he did not have the time to make the kind of impact he would have dreamed of on Friday night.
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England’s fans had arrived hoping to see their very own Paul Gascoigne moment and yet there had been little to get them off their seats before Grealish’s introduction with just under half-an-hour remaining.
This was a game heavy in industry, but lacking in magic, in something different, in a player ready to grasp the chance to become a superstar. It was lacking Grealish until England manager Gareth Southgate finally relented to public pressure.