Kevin Phillips admitted he was “shocked” to hear that Aston Villa attacker Jack Grealish had not been included in the recently announced England squad for next month’s internationals.
The former Claret and Blue, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed that the 24-year-old would be “hugely disappointed” to have not received his first call up to the side.
The Villa captain was not announced on England manager Gareth Southgate’s 25-man shortlist for the Three Lions’ upcoming Nations League matches.
There was however a surprise inclusion for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips, as well as late call-ups for Wolves’ Conor Coady and Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
Grealish‘s 41 appearances last season yielded an impressive 10 goals and eight assists in a Dean Smith side that only narrowly avoided the drop in the 2019/20 campaign.
When asked by Football Insider for his assessment of the squad picked by Southgate, Phillips said: “I am shocked that Jack Grealish is not in.
“If I am Jack I would be hugely disappointed. He has seen a Championship player get in the England squad, that is no disrespect to the Championship Jack is a player who, almost single handedly, kept Aston Villa in the Premier League.
“I am very surprised but Gareth has his own ideas. Jack now has to come back and show everyone what he can do so next time there is a squad he is picked.”
When asked about his decision not to include Grealish, Southgate said: “I know Villa have played him as an eight, but I don’t see him in that role for us.
“He could play as a 10, but we haven’t played with a 10. Also, some of those other players I’ve talked about (Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling) would be very good 10s as well.”
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