Jack Grealish can be 'England's Gazza' at World Cup and will be essential in Qatar

Former England and Manchester City star Shaun Wright-Philips reckons Jack Grealish can have the same impact for the Three Lions in Qatar as Paul Gascoigne used to have on the national side

Posted Sunday, September 25, 2022 by Dailystar.co.uk

Jack Grealish can be 'England's Gazza' at World Cup and will be essential in Qatar
Jack Grealish could be England's new Paul Gascoigne, according to Shaun Wright-Phillips

Manchester City star Jack Grealish can be England's main man in Qatar, says Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Pep Guardiola splashed the cash to draft in the playmaker last summer and City handed over a whopping £100 million to secure his services from Aston Villa.

The 27-year-old had to cope with Guardiola's rotation policy last term, although he still picked up a title-winners medal as City pipped Liverpool to glory.

Southgate will name his provisional squad for the World Cup on Wednesday 19 October, 33 days before England’s first group match against Iran.

All 32 football associations are then required to submit their final squads to Fifa by Sunday 13 November, a week before the opening game between hosts Qatar and Ecuador.

The City star is widely expected to be on the plane to the Middle East. But Southgate, like Guardiola, has also tended to use Grealish sparingly.

He has started him in just a handful of the last 14 competitive England games. And speaking after England's lacklustre 1-1 draw with Germany in the Nations League in June, Southgate threw down the gauntlet.

He challenged Grealish to improve his tactical know-how and all-round game if he is to become a regular starter at international level.

However, despite Southgate's hesitancy towards utilising Grealish as a starter, ex-City winger Wright-Phillps reckons the Birmingham-born ace could be a game changer at the World Cup.

"International football suits him," Wright-Phillips said. "When he gets on the football pitch, opposition players never know what to do with him because he's physically strong.

"He's happy to take on tackles and draw fouls and at the same time he's still got enough pace and trickery to get past them. He reminds me of Paul Gascoigne in that England squad and I really like it.

"He's out of the box and he's a player that England need in the squad. Even if he comes on late in the game he just goes for it and we've seen him do it time and time again."

Euro 2020 saw the Three Lions men fall at the final hurdle. England lost on penalties to Italy at Wembley after a spirited 1-1 draw in normal times. Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho all missed their spot kicks.

And at the 2018 World Cup, Southgate's men were knocked out in the semi-final stage to Croatia. England had taken an early lead from Kieran Trippier, but Ivan Perisic grabbed a second-half equaliser.

Mario Mandzukic, now assistant coach for the Croatia national team, subsequently scored an extra-time winner to crush England's dreams. But Wright-Philips, who was capped 36 times for England, insists glory is achievable for the first time since the famous 1966 triumph on home turf.

"England can definitely win the World Cup, it's just a matter of them putting it together," he added. "The fans have seen the players that Southgate has at his disposal and the talent that has been on display in the Premier League, we see it week in, week out.

"The squad just need to transform that free-flowing, exciting and attacking play into international games. There's not many defenders that can deal with the attackers England have got if they are on song."

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