Micah Richards has revealed where he falls on the Jack Grealish versus Phil Foden debate ahead of this summer’s European Championships.
Grealish has been the most productive of Southgate’s attacking midfielders in the Premier League this season despite missing the last eight matches.
The 25-year-old has six goals and 10 assists to his name in just 22 league appearances, the most recent of which was Villa’s goalless draw against Brighton in February.
But calls are growing for Manchester City ace Foden, 20, to be included in the Three Lions starting XI having become a key player for Pep Guardiola’s side this term.
Foden’s record in the Premier League stands at six goals and five assists in 24 outings, while he has a further three goals and two assists in the Champions League.
Southgate has some tough decisions to make and Richards believes Grealish still holds an advantage over Foden going into the summer.
“This is the hardest question out of all of them,” the former Villa and City defender said on the Super 6 podcast.
“At this moment in time, I think Jack Grealish. I think Foden’s got the ability to be better maybe. But I think at this moment, I think I have to say Jack Grealish.”
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Richards’ verdict echoes comments recently made by Arsene Wenger, who picked Grealish out as the most mature of England’s three dazzling number tens including Foden and Leicester City’s James Maddison.
The former Arsenal manager told beIN Sports: “I would say Grealish is the most mature today because he is that personality.
“He can dribble, he can go slow, quick, he has the personality to take people on, good vision for the final ball.”
Grealish is a year older than Maddison and five years Foden’s senior at 25, and his game has been elevated to a new level during the past two seasons.
Wenger added: “The studies we made we found out that at 23, at the age of 23, from 17 to 23 when you take a group of players, talented players, Maddison, Grealish, Foden, you put them all together, take 15 players.
“At the age of 20 there is a little separation. A few move away and you do not always guess who it is. Then at the age of 23 there is another separation from a few who move up to the top level and this is not always predictable, unless you know the quality of their motivation and the intensity of their assessment of their performance. Because after that the guys who continue to move on have that internal desire to get the best out of them.”