Grealish overlooked again but England call must come soon

Aston Villa

Jack Grealish has again failed to make the England squad but surely a call-up will come sooner rather than later for the Aston Villa captain?

The Villa star was tipped to finally earn a place in the Three Lions squad for the upcoming games against Montenegro and Kosovo but was again omitted when it was revealed on Thursday, even though boss Gareth Southgate decided to choose a larger than normal 27-man party for the Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Grealish has impressed for Dean Smith’s side in the Premier League this season, scoring two goals and managing three assists, but his good form was still not enough for Southgate to hand him his first senior call-up.

The 24-year-old has seven England Under-21 caps after switching allegiance from the Republic of Ireland and it does seem like it’s only a matter of time before he becomes part of Southgate’s plans.

The playmaker will be disappointed not to have made the cut again but will be buoyed by the national team boss taking time out to praise him when asked by reporters why he had overlooked the Villa man.

Southgate watched him closely in Villa’s recent Premier League win over Brighton – when he got a goal and assist – and it appears Grealish is the ‘next cab off the rank’ and will get his call-up if any of the other players pull out.

Southgate said: “Grealish is a very good player – I’ve watched him closely this season. He played very well against Brighton. The reality is he’s up against Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Callum Hudson-Odoi.

“Jack is a very good player and very close. Any issues with the squad and I wouldn’t hesitate to call him up.”

Maybe his recent calf injury went against him but Grealish can count himself unfortunate not to have been named this time. It seems slightly harsh that Southgate is comparing him with Sterling, Rashford and Hudson-Odoi when he operates in a slightly deeper role compared to those three at club level.

The playmaker is probably more in the mould of Leicester’s James Maddison and Liverpool’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who are both part of the latest squad, and if it wasn’t for the latter’s recent goalscoring form for the Reds then the Villa skipper may have nudged himself into the squad.

It could work out that he gets his chance next month due to injuries to others and, as long as he maintains his form for Villa, Southgate will not be able to exclude him much longer.