Grealish can boost England hopes

By Graham Hill

GARETH Southgate will be at Villa’s Premier League match with Everton on Friday night.

The former Villa captain is due to see the game with assistant Steve Holland ahead of naming his Three Lions squad for the Euro 2020 qualifying matches against Bulgaria and Kosovo.

Southgate will be casting his eye over several contenders on both sides.

But it will be an ideal opportunity for skipper Jack Grealish and defender Tyrone Mings to stake their claims to a place in the squad.

Villa keeper Tom Heaton, along with Everton’s Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane will also be under the microscope.

And Villa boss Dean Smith says that – whatever happens with Grealish – it will be Soiuthgate who decides if he is ready or not.

Grealish has made no secret of his England ambitions but has made a mixed return to the Premier League so far.

Villa boss Smith told reporters: “It’s down to Gareth if he deserves it or not, he’s not in control if he gets chosen for the squad.

“All he can control are his performances. If he keeps playing the way he did in the second half against Bournemouth he’ll soon get noticed.

“He’s a terrific talent and the one thing he’ll be disappointed with is the header he missed. He’s getting better and sooner or later he’ll be in that squad.

“He thrives whenever the pressure is better or greater for him. He is a real top player, we see it day in day out. Others only see it once a week.”


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