Crystal Palace boss and former England manager Roy Hodgson has thrown his weight behind Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish to make it to Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming Euro competitions next month.
Grealish returned from a shin injury in Aston Villa’s goalless draw against Everton on Thursday. He played 18 minutes only as he came off the bench and he was once again restricted to a cameo in their 3-2 win against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
These have been good outings for him to ease through competitive matches and build his fitness once again.
The 25-year-old has already missed out on three months of competitive football after getting sidelined in February. It leaves Southgate with a big decision now whether to include him in the three lions squad or not.
“It was a fortune moment in time when Jack decided he would commit himself to England,” former England boss Hodgson said.
“Since that time, he has matured and improved as a player enormously. There is no doubt a Jack Grealish when he is 100 percent fit will be a hard guy to leave out of any squad, whether it is England or any other team in the world.
“I am disappointed for him that he has had to deal with this injury situation, which is a major setback because it will put Gareth Southgate under that type of pressure I have experienced myself on a couple of occasions before tournaments.
“There is a player you really want but he has not been playing on a regular basis for a period of time and do you take a chance on his fitness or accept you have to leave him out?
“It is a tough, tough decision, but is Jack good enough and would he be a player in his best form that could make a difference to this England team? I think everyone would agree he could.”
There is no doubt about what Hodgson has said here. Grealish had been one of the best players in the Premier League season until he got sidelined with injury. The 25-year-old had scored six goals and assisted a total of 10 times.
He could have played for the Republic of Ireland but Hodgson, while being the England manager, convinced him to commit his career to the Three Lions in 2015.
It looked like Grealish had cemented a spot in Southgate’s squad as well, as he came up with some impressive performances after making his international debut in September last year. So it remains to be seen if the current England boss would want to back him one more time.