Gary Neville admits Jack Grealish will be ’embarrassed’ to have been replaced after coming on as a sub for England but will ‘recognise it was the right thing for the team’ – as Roy Keane hails Gareth Southgate’s ruthless decision
Jack Grealish will have been ’embarrassed’ after being subbed as a sub by Gareth Southgate in England’s 2-1 win over Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-final, says Gary Neville – but backed Southgate for ‘putting the team first’.
Grealish was sent on in the 69th minute as a replacement for Bukayo Saka, as he looked to inspire a late winner for the Three Lions with the scores level at 1-1. But as Southgate’s men were taken to extra time, the coach was forced to tinker with his plans and change his formation – opting to bring on Kieran Trippier to add solidity, with Grealish acting as the fall guy.
He was withdrawn at half time in extra time – just a minute after Harry Kane had put the team ahead from the penalty spot, and Southgate will have no critics after ensuring that England reached their first major final since 1966.
Jack Grealish (bottom centre) was subbed as a sub in England’s win over Denmark
Gareth Southgate brought him off again for Kieran Trippier as he looked to see out the victory
Debating the decision in the studio, pundit Gary Neville said the coach had consistently made tough judgment calls that could have gone either way – but hailed him for ‘putting the team first’, even though his decision to sub off Grealish would have hurt the midfielder’s pride.
‘There’s been moments through these games where Gareth has made decisions where he would be battered if it had gone wrong. Trippier in the first game, not playing Grealish enough, Scotland and people saying the system was too negative.
‘Against Germany when the team was announced people were saying we had eight defenders in the team including the goalkeeper, he’s done things his way all the way through the tournament.
Pundit Gary Neville believes the decision will have been ’embarrassing’ for the midfielder
‘There’s no ego in that dressing room, he will make decisions that need to be made for the team to be careful and he puts the team first. Jack tonight has suffered and look it’s an embarrassing moment for him in the sense of being a sub who is subbed. But he will recognise it was the right thing for the team.’
Roy Keane was also full of praise for Southgate for being ‘nasty’ and believes Grealish won’t begrudge his boss and should see ‘the bigger picture’ of the team reaching the final.
‘He is a nice guy but you need to be nasty to work at this level so it was no surprise Gareth made that decision.
‘Jack will have to look at the bigger picture it’s all about the team and getting to the final. There’s no doubt Gareth is nasty enough to make those decisions as he proved tonight.’
Grealish came on in the 69th minute and looked lively but wasn’t able to inspire England
Roy Keane backed Southgate for being ‘nasty’ and said Grealish must think about the team
Wright admitted he ‘felt’ for Grealish due to his passion for the team but agreed with Neville and Keane on Southgate’s stance and added ‘it’s about the squad’.
‘I feel for Jack I can’t lie – you could see it was a tournament he really wanted to be part of,’ the Arsenal legend said.
‘Every time it’s not really got going for him when he comes on, and to come off like that is not nice. But it’s about the squad and being a part of it, even though Jack might come on and set up the winning goal.’