Southgate slammed by Premier League chief for ‘crazy’ decision as senior England star seeks clarity

Will Ford
Southgate Grealish England
Gareth Southgate is being crticised for his snub of Jack Grealish.

A Premier League sporting director is baffled by Gareth Southgate’s “crazy” Euro 2024 squad decision as one senior member of the England squad sought clarity from the Three Lions boss.

Harry Maguire, Jack Grealish, 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.

Maguire’s absence came as a surprise, but Southgate said him being cut was down to his “complicated” recovery from a calf injury, with Grealish’s omission the biggest shock of all.

‘Upset, angry, disappointed’

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.

That was true of members of the squad as well as outsiders, and a report on Friday claimed ‘certain players were upset, others angry and disappointed’ at Grealish being sent home.

It was further claimed that some people close to the squad wondered whether the England boss had made the decision to ‘make things simpler, 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’.

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Sporting director puts boot in

Now The Telegraph claim that ‘such was the surprise and debate that one player spoke with Southgate to be sure of the reasoning to help explain the situation to others’.

One Premier League sporting director was so baffled by the England manager’s call that they got in touch with the publication and said: “How can the England manager leave out a player who can make such a big difference from the bench? Crazy.”

On his decision to leave out Grealish and James Maddison, Southgate said: “All the players took the decisions respectfully and all the players believe they should be in, that’s why they’re all top players with that mindset. We have some players that have performed extremely well this season and other players have had stronger seasons.

“In the attacking positions we’re blessed with a lot of options and Madders and Jack give us something different. They were tough calls, but we back our decisions but recognise we could’ve gone a different route. It was sad to have to deliver that news to them.”

Asked if Grealish’s level at City had dropped this season, Southgate replied: “I don’t think today would be a good day to talk about the bigger picture. I don’t think that would be fair.

“I have just delivered a really difficult conversation to a lad who is devastated. I think the world of him as a kid. Yes. I am not going to go any broader than that.”