Gareth Southgate urged to start ‘street footballer’ Jack Grealish in England’s first Euro 2020 game as Aston Villa star is hailed by Tottenham and Manchester United legend

Jack Grealish MUST start England’s first game at Euro 2020 after impressing in the two friendlies last week, talkSPORT has been told.

The Aston Villa midfielder played against both Austria and Romania and was one of the standout stars across the two matches.

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Grealish was named man-of-the-match against Romania[/caption]

Chelsea and Man City players were unavailable for the games, having played in the Champions League final, giving others the chance to impress in their absence.

Grealish has done his chances of starting against Croatia on Sunday no harm and has potentially thrown a spanner in the works for Gareth Southgate.

Former Arsenal winger Perry Groves told talkSPORT: “Grealish is like a street footballer. We’ve seen him play and we know he’s brilliant around the box, but I think you judge players when things aren’t going particularly well.

“I’ve seen him play for Aston Villa when Aston Villa looked like they could be relegated. When they were poor, there were three or four players that jacked it in. 

“You judged players when things aren’t going well and he was still working, tracking back and trying to get the ball.

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Grealish was a standout star in both friendlies ahead of Euro 2020[/caption]

“For us to win the tournament, he has to find a spot for Jack Grealish. He has to find somewhere, if it’s left of a three, right of a three or as a 10. He gives you that something different.

“He has got to find a place for him.”

Former Manchester United and England striker Teddy Sheringham told talkSPORT: “The more players we’ve got who can receive the ball, retain the ball, and play the game and take the game to the opposition, rather than worrying about what the opposition are going to do to us, Grealish definitely does that.

“He receives the ball, goes forward, sees passes and makes things happen. I don’t know if he’s going to be in Gareth’s starting line-up, but he’d definitely be in mine.”

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Southgate has some big decisions to make ahead of England’s first match on Sunday[/caption]

Grealish was the most fouled player in Premier League last season and was fouled plenty of times in those two friendlies.

The Villa midfielder has a knack of winning free-kicks in dangerous areas, which could prove valuable at the Euros.

The Times journalist Henry Winter said: “You just look at the way he wins free-kicks, his fearlessness, he takes the ball and dribbles it.

“I thought about two weeks ago, before Grealish went on this run of form, England’s front three would be Rashford on the left, Foden on the right, you’ve got to play Foden, Mason Mount, the games he’s played for Chelsea and for Southgate, you would assume he’d play in that floating No.10 role, with Harry Kane up front.

“Grealish, in a positive way, has clouded the situation and I can’t remember England going into a tournament with such uncertainty or with so many doubts about who the actual starting XI will be.”

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Grealish’s knack of winning free-kicks could prove valuable for England[/caption]

When asked if Grealish should start against Croatia, former England striker Dean Ashton added: “I’d like to think so. Even in a dire game like last night, he was the one player that you just thought any moment now he will do something.

“He created the chance for Sancho to hit the bar, he always looked a threat, he’s something totally different to what we’ve got and I think in the difficult games, like Croatia, you need players like him who are going to be the difference.

“The amount of free-kicks he gains in dangerous areas, as we’ve shown in the previous World Cup, we are dangerous from set-plays.”

talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 will have live commentary of EVERY game of Euro 2020. You won’t miss a thing as we bring you round the clock coverage, reaction and analysis from June 11-July 11. Listen online HERE.

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