Thursday, June 20, 2024

Gareth Southgate ‘has never been bedfellows with England star’ as Serbia Euro 2024 clash approaches

Must read

Former England star Alan Smith has claimed Gareth Southgate and Jack Grealish ‘have never been bedfellows’ after the Manchester City star failed to make the cut for Euro 2024.

Grealish was snubbed by Southgate last week, with the winger paying the price following a difficult season at Manchester City.


Injuries prevented the 28-year-old from regularly featuring under Pep Guardiola, while Jeremy Doku was often ahead of him in the pecking order.

Grealish has since jetted off to Dubai, while the former Aston Villa star also plans on embarking on a holiday with his long-term partner, Sasha Attwood.

Euro 2024: Gareth Southgate will be hoping to guide England to victory over Serbia on Sunday night

PA

Many have questioned Southgate for leaving Grealish at home given his quality, however, despite his patchy form last term.

And Smith, speaking to Gambling Zone, has suggested the pair have never quite taken to each other.

“I was surprised by the Grealish decision,” he said. “He came on and set up that goal for [Trent] Alexander-Arnold with a lovely pass against Bosnia.

“I don’t think that Southgate and Grealish have ever been natural bedfellows.

“It took Southgate a while to come round to picking Grealish in the squad and giving him a chance.

“That can happen sometimes with managers. I always remember Graham Taylor and Gary Lineker, there was always a little bit of friction there.

“Obviously Grealish hasn’t had the best of seasons. He’s not been in the City team week in, week out in the way that he was in the treble season.

“He’s had injuries, but even so, he’s got that little bit of something.

“Maybe Anthony Gordon’s form has seen off Grealish, [Eberechi] Eze as well.”

Another big name omission from the recent England squad was Harry Maguire, who has previously been a regular pick under Southgate.

With the centre-back injured, the Three Lions have opted to leave the Manchester United defender at home.

It’ll be intriguing to see who partners John Stones at centre-back, with the Manchester City star undroppable.

And Smith has admitted he’s concerned about England’s defence as they look to end 58 years of hurt in Germany this summer.

“You can look at the defence and maybe worry a bit,” he added.

“What back four will he be able to play? Who’s going to partner John Stones?

LATEST SPORTS NEWS:

Euro 2024 England Gareth Southgate Jack Grealish

Euro 2024: Alan Smith claims Gareth Southgate has never been ‘bedfellows’ with Jack Grealish following his England snub

PA

“Hopefully Stones will be fit after that knock. Marc Guéhi looks like he will get the nod.

“He played them together against Iceland and is obviously trying to establish a relationship there.

“To not have Maguire is a big blow because he has a good relationship with Stones; that is a pairing with experience and the understanding between the two was excellent.

“At left-back, will Luke Shaw be fit? I think he will play Kieran Trippier if there are any doubts about Shaw.

“Trippier is such a good defender one-v-one and so experienced at this level.

Euro 2024 Harry Maguire England

Euro 2024: Alan Smith fears for England’s defence in the absence of Harry Maguire ahead of crunch Serbia clash

PA

“Not having a natural left footer does imbalance you a little bit when it’s time for him to go forward.

“We’ve got so many great players going forward, but the challenge is whether or not we can get the balance right and pick a defence that’s going to do the business.”

England kick off their Euro 2024 campaign against Serbia on Sunday.

They’ll be hoping for a repeat of the last European Championships, with the Three Lions making the final of the competition before losing to Italy on penalties.

Latest article