Gareth Southgate and Jack Grealish relationship compared to Gary Lineker 'friction'

Gareth Southgate cut Jack Grealish from his final England squad (Image: Getty)

Jack Grealish’s rapport with Gareth Southgate has drawn parallels to the “friction” once seen between Gary Lineker and Graham Taylor. Grealish was a notable absentee from Southgate’s final squad for Euro 2024, despite expectations that the Manchester City ace would at least serve as a dynamic substitute in Germany.

His disappointing season and limited game time under Pep Guardiola notwithstanding, his omission came as a shock to many. Instead, Southgate has favoured players like Anthony Gordon and Eberechi Eze, sparking conjecture about his relationship with Grealish.

Former England forward Alan Smith has expressed his surprise at the decision to Gambling Zone. However, the former Arsenal striker reckons there is an uneasy relationship between the pair.

“I was surprised by the Grealish decision. He came on and set up that goal for Alexander-Arnold with a lovely pass against Bosnia,” said Smith.

“I don’t think that Southgate and Grealish have ever been natural bedfellows. It took Southgate a while to come around to picking Grealish in the squad and giving him a chance. That can happen sometimes with managers.”

The uneasy dynamic is reminiscent of the strained ties between Lineker and Taylor, highlighted when Taylor controversially substituted the striker during England’s crucial group game against Sweden at Euro 92.

Gary Lineker seen being subbed off on his final England appearance against Sweden (Image: Getty)

With the match at 1-1 just past the hour mark, Lineker, on 48 goals for his country, was withdrawn and replaced by Smith. England went on to lose 2-1 to crash out of the tournament. It proved to be Lineker’s final match for the Three Lions.

“I always remember Graham Taylor and Gary Lineker, there was always a little bit of friction there,” said Smith, now a Sky Sports pundit. “Obviously, Grealish hasn’t had the best of seasons. He’s not been in the City team week in, week out in the way that he was in the treble season.

“He’s had injuries, but even so, he’s got that little bit of something. Maybe Anthony Gordon’s form has seen off Grealish, Eze as well. But I was surprised that Grealish hasn’t been picked.”