Gareth Southgate insists Jack Grealish is ‘fine’ and ‘understood’ his ‘ruthless decision’ to take the second-half sub off in extra time against Denmark after Gary Neville claimed the midfielder would’ve been ’embarrassed’
Gareth Southgate has insisted Jack Grealish is ‘fine’ and ‘understood’ his decision to take him off in extra time despite coming on as a second-half sub in the win over Denmark.
Grealish was withdrawn at the end of the first half in extra time after England took the lead through Harry Kane’s rebounded penalty, with Kieran Trippier taking his place to form a five-man back line to help see out the game.
The midfielder, who has played a periphery role at Euro 2020, had only been on the pitch for 35 minutes when he was replaced, having been brought on in the second half with the scores tied.
Gareth Southgate explained his reasoning for subbing Jack Grealish off in win over Denmark
The midfielder (third from left) had come on as a sub before being taken off in extra time
But Southgate has assured that the 25-year-old understood the wider picture and why it was the right thing to do for the team as he explained his thinking behind the substitution.
‘He’s fine – he understood, he was terrific when he came on he gave us momentum,’ Southgate said.
‘But we know when they’ve gone behind in games they’ve thrown four men up front so we needed to get an extra defender on just to make sure we were more solid and I wanted to keep Raheem’s [Sterling] speed on so it meant taking one of the two boys off who had just come on.’
Grealish posted a picture on Instagram of him and his team-mates celebrating after England sealed their place in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final against Italy, writing: ‘I love this team!! What a night at Wembley! One more to go.’
Gary Neville claimed Grealish will be ’embarrassed’ but will recognise it was right for the team
Grealish had only been on the pitch for 35 minutes before Southgate withdrew him
ITV pundit Gary Neville admitted Grealish’s pride would have been hurt and he would would’ve felt ’embarrassed’ by the situation, but backed Three Lions boss Southgate for putting the team first.
‘There’s been moments through these games where Gareth has made decisions where he would be battered if it had gone wrong,’ Neville said after England’s 2-1 victory.
‘Trippier in the first game, not playing Grealish enough, Scotland and people saying the system was too negative.
‘Against Germany when the team was announced people were saying we had eight defenders in the team including the goalkeeper, he’s done things his way all the way through the tournament.
Southgate insisted Grealish is ‘fine’ and ‘understood’ why he was replaced by Kieran Trippier
Roy Keane backed Southgate for being ‘nasty’ and said Grealish must think about the team
The 25-year-old wrote on Instagram ‘I love this team’ after they booked Euro 2020 final place
‘There’s no ego in that dressing room, he will make decisions that need to be made for the team to be careful and he puts the team first. Jack tonight has suffered and look it’s an embarrassing moment for him in the sense of being a sub who is subbed. But he will recognise it was the right thing for the team.’
Roy Keane was also full of praise for Southgate for being ‘nasty’ and believes Grealish won’t begrudge his boss and should see ‘the bigger picture’ of the team reaching the final.
Keane added: ‘He is a nice guy but you need to be nasty to work at this level so it was no surprise Gareth made that decision.
‘Jack will have to look at the bigger picture it’s all about the team and getting to the final. There’s no doubt Gareth is nasty enough to make those decisions as he proved tonight.’