Mourinho: Figo-like star can embolden ‘shy’ England

Date published: Tuesday 22nd June 2021 9:26 - Will Ford

Jose Mourinho Scotland England

Jose Mourinho says Gareth Southgate must start Jack Grealish against the Czech Republic as they “look a shy team” without him.

There have been widespread calls for Southgate to change-up his forward line, with Grealish and Jadon Sancho the names most consistently put forward.

Sancho is said to be ‘aggrieved’ by his snub, but Mourinho claims it’s Grealish who Southgate must find a place for.

READ MORE: Ten England stars who missed tournament openers then thrived

The former Spurs boss believes the Aston Villa skipper is “fearless” and will be vital in winning free-kicks – a real strength for this England side.

Mourinho said in his column in The Sun: ‘England look like a shy team, so they need Jack Grealish against the Czech Republic tonight.

‘He looks like he has always been on that stage.

‘The guy is brave. The guy never played a European match for his club but he arrives in the national team and  is fearless.

‘He risks. He gambles. He loses the ball. He creates. He kicks people. People kick him. He creates instability in opponents. And he wins free-kicks.

‘You win free-kicks in wide areas then you go with Harry Maguire or Tyrone Mings or John Stones and Harry Kane — and England are powerful on set-pieces.

‘England looked a shy team against Scotland because they were a team without that thing that Grealish has.

‘I don’t like comparing players — and Luis Figo was at a different level — but Grealish is like Figo in that he’ll demand the ball.

‘He says, “Give me the ball and I will resolve this!”

‘Grealish didn’t play amazingly when he came on against Scotland but how many times did he have the ball? How many fouls did they commit on him? How many one-against-ones did he create? England need these qualities.

‘If you start with Grealish and you have a striker like Harry Kane, you also want a runner to attack spaces — so you need either Raheem Sterling or Marcus Rashford.

‘Sometimes with City,  Sterling is so wide he is talking to the linesman. Then suddenly the space is there and ‘boom’ the run is made.’


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