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Waddle says Grealish will never be England’s Zidane!

What did Waddle say?

While speaking to Goal, Waddle was asked about Grealish’s place for the [league 732] and he replied saying, “Gareth’s first choice will be Raheem Sterling because he had a good Euros, got a few goals.

“He likes the way he works – he presses players, he chases players, he’s quick and he goes and hounds full-backs and that right-sided player, he’s the first to press.

“If you look at Gareth’s system, it’s about starting from the front. You aren’t going to get that from Harry Kane as much, he occupies the two centre-halves. Sterling sets the team up by being the first to go and close down.

“I think that’s why he puts Bukayo Saka in, because he does it very well. Jadon Sancho maybe doesn’t do it as well. You can say that Jack Grealish is better on the ball than Sterling, and probably Marcus Rashford. He is more composed on the ball, see’s the picture, but he doesn’t press as high or with the intensity that Gareth wants.

“Playing as a 10 in international football is a difficult position because the middle of the park is normally flooded.

“He probably wants to play as a 10, but I think his best position is left side of a three up front. It’s up to Jack to get that shirt and keep hold of it. He can say that he has done it when he’s come on, but the thing with Gareth is that one of his favourites is Raheem Sterling.

“It’s going to be hard for Jack. If he plays Sterling on the right, is he as effective? Not really. That would get Grealish in the team. I think Jack is going to go through the years like many talented British footballers, unfortunately, in that fans want him in the team, players want him in the team, but sometimes it comes down to work rate.

“We have never been able to build teams around players that can’t close down or work off the ball. We have had so many talented footballers, from the early 70s onwards, that you could probably come up with 20 names that have only got 10 caps between them because they weren’t trusted to do the job when they haven’t got the ball.

“If you look at teams on the continent, they build teams around them. They say that they don’t want them chasing players, they want that energy so when we have the ball they are fresh.

“They put players in the team to do the leg work, and we have never done that. We have always said ‘you run, you graft, work hard’. The downside is, when you get the ball and you are breathing out of your backside, you feel like you can’t run past two people and make a goal. We have never been able to adjust.”

On Building the squad around Grealish

Waddle further added, “If you are going to play Jack Grealish, then play 4-3-3. Playing three lads in there is narrow but if Grealish isn’t going to track back, then the left-sided player has got the legs – a Declan Rice or Kalvin Phillips, a Jordan Henderson – they can get across. They know they can do that, that’s their game, getting the ball back.

“You don’t do it all the time, but you basically say that when we haven’t got the ball, we are playing with 10 men. You want Jack Grealish to get as much oxygen back into him after a mazy run and a dribble, to get him into a position again where when we win the ball back we can go ‘Jack, have it’.

“Over the years you have had (Michel) Platini, Zidane, Hagi, they worked in areas – you don’t do no work, and once the ball transferred from the area they find space because when you get the ball back, you want to give it to them.

“This is what we have got to do. If we think that Jack Grealish is going to be our game-changer, you have to accept that he isn’t going to do one side of the game very well, but he can do the other side really well – play to his strengths. England have never, ever known how to manage those creative players.”

Will Grealish flourish under Southgate?

Despite reaching the final at the [league 1326], there was a massive disappointment among the fans given the lack of game time for Grealish. The 25-year-old midfielder who left [team 15] to join [team 9] was England’s most exciting player going into the tournament. However, the way it went, it was not the most desired experience for the player and the fans.

Fans were eager to watch [player 537121], [player 336133], Grealish and [player 538034] at the tournament. They knew the reality that not all of them can play at the same time. However, they did expect more than what they got at the tournament. Grealish’s heroics with Villa proved he is good enough to be a key part of his nation’s team.

[coach 474589] did an exceptional job by getting [team 18645] into the final, but the reality is that he is a pragmatic coach. This is not a criticism but just a reality. He is not a bad coach, he is more than capable of succeeding, but his philosophy restricts a possession-based style. This leads to less playing time for exciting attacking players who don’t track back as much as others. Grealish is just a victim of Gareth’s approach.

Maybe, Waddle is wrong, but the way Southgate is and has been, it’s hard to see an exciting future for [player 1116] as far as his international career is concerned.

Author: Devashish Akolekar

With high hopes around the young midfielder, Chris Waddle has given a surprising opinion on Grealish’s England future.

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