Jack Grealish believes playing as a winger for Aston Villa may hurt his chances of getting his first England cap.
The 24-year-old has admitted he could struggle to replace England’s current wide options, but is hopeful he will get the chance to represent the Three Lions as an attacking midfielder.
Grealish to receive an England call-up? Five things to know…
- Jack Grealish opted to represent England despite being playing for the Republic of Ireland U-21s.
- The Villa man has made seven appearances for England at the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championships.
- He is yet to make his senior debut for the Three Lions.
- He is vying to be named in Gareth Southgate’s next England squad ahead of Euro 2020.
- However, Grealish has admitted playing as a winger could restrict his opportunities.
Jack Grealish has been getting a lot of plaudits for his recent performances despite Villa’s top-flight struggles. He has created more chances (69) than any other English player in the Premier League this season and hopes he has done enough to catch Gareth Southgate’s eye.
However, being deployed out wide by Villa manager Dean Smith means he is increasingly being viewed as a winger – which is a position England boast an array of options in.
“What will be hard at the moment is with the position I am playing in at the moment, people would probably say I am playing as a winger,” he told the Express and Star.
“If you look at England’s wingers, I doubt I would have much of a chance of starting in front of [Raheem] Sterling, [Jadon] Sancho and [marcus] Rashford, who are all unbelievable players.
“I’ve always said my favourite position would be playing in midfield. That is where I would love to play for England.
“It is where I would want to play for Villa, but it just so happens at the moment I am playing well in the position I am in and it is better for the team.
“If I was fortunate enough to get a call-up, the position I would want to play is in midfield.”
Much will depend on whether Southgate sees the Villa man as an attacking midfielder or a winger. The Three Lions currently have Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling who can play out wide – plus a host of alternative options – but have often struggled to find a natural number 10, a position where Grealish thrives.
‘I would not change the past’
Grealish may have had to wait longer for an England call up than many first expected after switching allegiance, but the 24-year-old thinks all the things he has been through have served to make him a better player.
“Everything that has happened in my life, I would not change,” he said. “You know when bad stuff happens in your life and you think: ‘I wish that didn’t happen’.
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“But looking back on it now, I would want everything to stay the same.
“I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, and everything that has happened has helped me become the man I am today. I honestly would not change the past.”
Grealish will be hoping he is named in the next England squad to face Italy and Denmark at the end of March as Southgate prepares his team for this summer’s European Championships.