Paul Merson convinced he knows why Gareth Southgate left Jack Grealish out England squad

Paul Merson has spoken about Gareth Southgate’s decision to not take Jack Grealish to Euro 2024 (Image: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Paul Merson has weighed in on Gareth Southgate’s decision to leave Jack Grealish out of the England squad for Euro 2024. The Sky Sports pundit has suggested that the winger’s omission was not simply due to his frustrating season with Manchester City.

Despite being a regular for England, Grealish was limited to 20 league appearances for City this term, through a mix of injuries and the signing of Jeremy Doku, which seems to have cost him his spot at the Euros. Gareth Southgate made several unexpected decisions when selecting his 26-man squad, favouring in-form players with less international experience for the tournament in Germany.

This led to Eberechi Eze and Jarrod Bowen taking to the field for England against Denmark, albeit in a lacklustre match. However, Newcastle United’s Anthony Gordon and Chelsea’s Cole Palmer are yet to make an appearance, and Merson is adamant that Grealish’s possible reaction to Southgate’s selection headache is the real reason for his absence.

“That’s why [Gordon and Palmer are] there and Jack Grealish is not there,” Merson declared on the Football’s Greatest podcast. “Because Jack would be, I imagine Jack would be going mad now.

“I can’t imagine Gordon and Palmer saying anything. I just imagine them sitting there, thinking to themselves, ‘Well, maybe I should be getting on.’ I don’t see them saying anything to him. I can see a Jack Grealish going to Gareth and going, ‘Why am I not playing?'”

Merson has slammed Gareth Southgate for a number of his decisions during England’s clash with Denmark, particularly the introduction of Eze, Bowen, and Ollie Watkins in a huge roll of the dice move. He expressed his confusion over the team’s inability to adapt to their new frontline and questioned Bowen’s impact as a game-changer despite his impressive 16-goal tally for West Ham.

Paul Merson has criticised several of Gareth Southgate’s decisions (Image: Sky Sports)

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Merson did see a glimmer of hope in Watkins’ performance from the bench. The former Arsenal star has urged his ex-England teammate Southgate to partner the Aston Villa striker with Harry Kane against Slovenia on Tuesday, hoping to inject life into England’s hopes of winning the Euros.

“He brings on Eze who is one of our most gifted players to do a job,” Merson argued. “He’s running back. He puts Bowen on the other side. Bowen’s alright if you want to keep a lead, if we’re winning like we were last week. We’re 1-0 up, he’ll do what it says on the tin. He’ll get up and down, he’ll block crosses, get crosses in but you don’t put him on to go and win a game, in my opinion.

“There’s horses for courses. You’ve got to put Palmer on. He scored 20 goals this season. You know, he can play with that bit of flair. Eze gets on, he doesn’t touch the ball, hardly.”

“There’s no plan,” Merson concluded. “I would play Watkins but I’d have to keep Kane in the team, I’d have to find a way. You’ve got to keep world-class players on the football pitch.”

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1914589/Jack-Grealish-England-Gareth-Southgate-Paul-Merson