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Southgate has got it right with Grealish despite pressure over England star

The England boss has managed his squad very well – he has found the right balance of players in the starting line-up and has his game-changers as second half substitutes

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Gareth Southgate is getting it so right with Jack Grealish.

He’s an impact sub right now and what an impact he made against the Germans. I’d love to see him from the start just as much as the fans who sang his name throughout the second half at Wembley – but who do you drop for him?

Raheem Sterling was making things happen all night – long before he tucked away his third goal in four matches. He’s asked every question of him and made the people who thought he shouldn’t have started the first game look foolish.

Bukayo Saka was another player willing to run at the Germans all night. He and Raheem were our difference makers. They were the ones getting high up the pitch, trying to support Harry Kane and trying to relieve the pressure on our defence.



Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish celebrate England’s opening goal against Germany at Wembley
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Image:

PA)




Neither of them deserves to be dropped after playing such a vital role in such a massive game. The only way you could do that would be to change formation and I think that would be a mistake.

Five at the back gives you so much more flexibility. It leaves you more secure if you are under pressure and if the full-backs push up high it gives you more options in attack.









So no, Gareth is getting it right. Jack is a fantastic option to bring on late. He is never fazed. He was dispossessed time and again and yet still he wanted to go again. That’s what you need when you come up against stubborn teams – players who are brave enough to demand the ball and go at them.

He is able to get the ball in between the lines, drive at the back four and slide the likes of Harry Kane in to score.

As for a player of his quality being on the bench. That’s what all the top teams in world football have – a quality bench.

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Jack is what you need when you want to change things in a tight game. And make no mistake, the games ahead will be tight games.

Don’t buy into this nonsense that the remaining games are a shoo-in. France thought that when they came up against Switzerland and look where they are now. The Dutch thought they would see off the Czechs and look where they are.

I get it. It’s difficult not to think ahead. Not to dream. But that was our undoing at the World Cup. We looked ahead to the final and were undone in the semi by Croatia.

We will come up against teams now who want to play a low block. It will be hard to defend against – I know, because I played it at Crystal Palace.







What we will have to do is not play cute, five-yard passes. We will have to keep moving the opposition team from side to side. Harry Maguire did that against the Czechs, for example, when he played diagonal balls out to Luke Shaw.

That’s the beauty of this team and this squad. We have options for every eventuality. But we also have players who will shut out the noise and the people getting ahead of themselves.

They will know from winning things with their club sides that it’s a case of just one game at a time.










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