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Southgate makes key Grealish decision ahead of Croatia game

Southgate makes key Grealish decision ahead of Croatia game

Grealish to make do with a place on the Bench

Barring any late changes, it appears that Jack Grealish will have to make do with a place on the bench for England’s opening game against Croatia.

The Three Lions kick off their Euro2020 campaign today, and the Aston Villa man was thought to be in the frame to start after impressing in both friendly wins over Austria and Romania.

However, this does not seem to have been enough to have forced his way onto the team sheet against Croatia, with The Athletic reporting that the returning Phil Foden is set to start.

Foden, along with the likes of John Stones, Ben Chilwell and Reece James missed both of England’s friendly games due to their club commitments, participating in the Champions League final.

Another of those that started that game was Raheem Sterling, who is set to be recalled into Southgate’s starting eleven.

Sterling has struggled for form at club level this season, and it remains to be seen just what he can bring to an England team already full of talent. His raw pace, however, could act as the perfect foil for Harry Kane and Foden in attack.

Defence at sea

Harry Maguire travelled down to Wembley from St George’s park with the team, sparking excitement that he may be fit enough to play some role in the encounter.

However, it appears that hope was misplaced, as Tyrone Mings is set to continue in central defence alongside John Stones.

Mings looked shaky in the friendly games ahead of the tournament, but has impressed at times for domestic side Aston Villa this season and will hope that he can provide more of those performances than the ones he has recorded to date in a Three Lions shirt.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the selection is the decision to play Kieran Trippier, a right-back by trade, on the left side of defence.

The Atletico man played in the position against Austria and Lithuania, but was expected to drop out of the side for one of the returning Luke Shaw or Ben Chilwell, both of whom are natural left-backs.

This decision, which throws into doubt Shaw and Chilwell’s match fitness, is one of many surprises that Southgate has thrown at Croatia just hours before kick-off.

Fingers-crossed he’s got them right.

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This article was edited by Tom Canton.