Jack Grealish has been called up to the England squad to face Iceland and Denmark in the UEFA Nations League.
There were some eyebrows raised when the Aston Villa star was left out of Gareth Southgate’s 24-man squad yet again last week given his fine performances in the Premier League last season.
But after Marcus Rashford (ankle) and Harry Winks pulled out of action, Grealish has finally been given the nod.
Grealish scored eight goals and created six assists to help Villa escape the drop last season, and many will think the call-up is just reward for his performances.
When asked about his decision to omit Grealish initially, Southgate said: “The difficulty for Jack is Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford.
“Those four have either been with us for a long time and been exceptional, in terms of Marcus and Raheem. Jadon is just breaking through and I think everybody is aware of his potential, and Mason Greenwood’s goalscoring record and performances with Manchester United were outstanding.
“It is an area of the field where we have people like Callum Hudson-Odoi as well. I know at times Villa play Jack as a midfield player – that is not as I see him in the way we play.
“So, with us he would be a wide player or a 10 and, at the moment, I think we have got players who deserve to be in just ahead of him.”
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Grealish will now be determined to seize his opportunity, and it will be intriguing to see how many minutes he gets in the two upcoming games.
He has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United in the last few weeks, although the Red Devils now appear to have turned their attentions towards Ajax attacking midfielder Donny van de Beek, who they are expected to sign in a £40m deal in the next few days.