Jack Grealish called up to England squad for first time as Southgate makes late U-turn after Rashford and Winks pull out
JACK GREALISH has been handed his first ever England call up by Gareth Southgate with Marcus Rashford and Harry Winks withdrawing from the squad.
The Three Lions boss was widely criticised for his initial decision to leave the Aston Villa star out of his squad to play Iceland and Denmark.
But in a dramatic late U-turn, he has handed the midfielder his first chance to prove himself on the international stage.
It comes as Manchester United striker Rashford withdraws with an ankle injury, while Tottenham midfielder Winks has also been forced to return to his club.
Southgate's squad are meeting up for coronavirus testing at St George's Park today ahead of the Nations League double header.
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Grealish had hoped to make the original Three Lions party after saving his Midlands club from relegation.
And having been initially snubbed, the uncapped 24-year-old made his feelings known.
Grealish liked a Twitter post comparing his stats to Leeds’ star Kalvin Phillips, who made the squad despite having no Premier League experience.
The ‘like’ was deleted but Grealish had made his point.
Fans across the country were also stunned by the omission with many dubbing it a "shambles".
LATEST ENGLAND SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope.
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Coady, Eric Dier, Joe Gomez, Michael Keane, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Tyrone Mings, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker.
Midfielders: Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse, Jack Grealish.
Forwards: Tammy Abraham, Mason Greenwood, Danny Ings, Harry Kane, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling.
Southgate explained he left Grealish out due to the sensational form of Manchester United’s 18-year-old star Mason Greenwood.
After his squad was announced, he said: “With Jack, the simple answer is Mason Greenwood.
“He’s competing with Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling."
Despite Grealish shining for Villa in a central midfield role, Southgate appears to view him as more of a winger.
The England boss added: “I know Villa have played him as No 8, I don’t see him in that role.
“He could be a No 10 but we haven’t played like that and some of those other players I’ve talked about would be very good No 10s as well.”
Rashford tweeted his disappointment at his inability to recover from an ankle injury.
He wrote: "Gutted. Never want to let this team down but these fixtures just came a little too soon for me.
"I tried my best but I have to focus on starting the season at my strongest for club and country.
"Good luck boys, I’ll be cheering you on from home."
Southgate's squad has already been shrouded in controversy.
Harry Maguire was picked and then dropped just hours later after a guilty verdict landed in Greece after his Mykanos brawl.
And then FIVE Three Lions stars tested positive for coronavirus – ruling themselves out of meeting up with the squad.
Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Wolves' Conor Coady have since been drafted in as replacements.
England face Iceland on Saturday 5 September – kick-off at 5pm.
Before their 7:45pm kick-off against Denmark on Tuesday 8 September just three days later.
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