Former Premier League striker Carlton Cole believes Jack Grealish will get an England call-up once he matures – and thinks Gareth Southgate will only pick him as soon as he is good enough for the team to be built around him.
Should Jack Grealish be in the England squad?
Grealish has impressed for Aston Villa since their promotion to the top flight, becoming the Villans’ top goalscorer this season to lead their fight for survival.
Cole was speaking about England’s potential Euro 2020 squad for Sky Sports’ Kings of the Premier League show, in which he suggested that Grealish is good enough to carry the team in the future – but will only make the squad at that point.
The ex-West Ham United striker believes that is the stance Southgate will take if he is to get the best out of the 24-year-old midfielder.
He said: “For him to be fully effective, the team has to be built around him. He’s that good.
“So that’s why I think it’s been a problem for Southgate. Let [Grealish] mature until he’s ready to carry a team at that level and then that’s when you’ll see fireworks.”
While Cole had suggested that Grealish was good enough to make the team this summer, he implied that Southgate has overlooked him to this point because he is not at the stage of carrying an England team.
Although Grealish may yet improve at Villa, it seems a longshot to suggest that he could suddenly jump in to lead the team without prior experience, so it is perhaps just as well Cole feels he is worthy of a place in the squad for the upcoming European Championships.
It seems Cole is looking pretty far into the future with regards to Grealish’s international prospects, though given he is the topic of conversation here, it appears he is knocking on the door for a senior international bow.
Whether he will grow into a pivotal role in the squad remains to be seen, though it sounds unlikely that Southgate will fast-track him into his ideal role without getting a feel for that level of football as Cole implies.
Even so, his words look to add to the growing reputation Grealish is building having dazzled for Villa this term.
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