England stars ‘angry’ at Grealish snub as Southgate elects for ‘simplicity’ over ‘TV clamour’

Will Ford
Grealish Southgate England
Jack Grealish's omission has 'sent shockwaves' through the England squad.

Gareth Southgate’s omission of Jack Grealish has ‘sent shockwaves’ through the England squad as sources question whether the Three Lions manager made the decision to avoid the ‘public clamour for his selection’.

Grealish joined Harry Maguire, James Maddison, Jarrad Branthwaite, Curtis Jones, Jarell Quansah and James Trafford in being dropped from England’s 33-man squad for Euro 2024, though Liverpool centre-back Quansah remains with the squad ahead of their friendly against Iceland on Friday as a standby.

‘Upset, angry and disappointed’

Maguire’s absence came as a surprise, but Southgate said him being cut was down to his “complicated” recovery from a calf injury, but Grealish’s omission is the big story.

The Manchester City star hasn’t played a huge amount of club football this season after his starring role in their treble win the season before, but after his 30-minute cameo against Bosnia on Monday – in which he assisted Trent Alexander-Arnold and looked assured and dangerous aside – most assumed he has secured his spot on the plane.

The Athletic claim the England squad as a whole were ‘shocked’ by Southgate’s decision, while ‘certain players were upset, others angry and disappointed’.

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‘Simplicity’ over quality?

And the report claims that some people close to the squad wondered whether the England boss had made the decision to ‘make things simpler’, while there’s concern that without Grealish or Maddison the squad lacks a creative spark.

The report adds:

‘Some close to the squad — who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect relationships — pondered whether cutting out Grealish altogether makes things simpler during the tournament, as Southgate does not have to handle public clamour for his selection or risk the TV cameras watching Grealish’s every move on the bench.

‘There was concern too in the camp about whether England would miss Grealish’s creativity — a concern compounded by the omission of James Maddison. Many anticipated Southgate choosing between the two playmakers. Few imagined he would cut both.’

Explaining why he left out Grealish and Maddison, Southgate insisted that he “felt other players had stronger seasons”.

“All the players took the news really respectfully. Of course, all players will think they should be in and that’s why they are top players,” Southgate told reporters.

“They have that self-belief and mindset, but the fact is we have some players who have been playing extremely well in the league all season.

“We just felt other players had stronger seasons, particularly in the last six months or so.”