Grealish devastated by Euro absence: 'It was a very difficult conversation'

Jack Grealish is devastated. The fact that the 26-year-old forward has been dropped from the Euros squad has caused quite a stir in England.

Grealish devastated by Euro absence: 'It was a very difficult conversation' Embed from Getty Images

Grealish didn't have the best season at Manchester City, but he made a good impression with the national team this past week. On Monday, he provided an assist as a substitute against Bosnia-Herzegovina (3-0), and on Thursday, he trained seemingly carefree.

While coach Gareth Southgate had already shared the bad news with James Maddison, he waited a long time to speak with Grealish. "I tried to tell everyone as quickly as possible," Southgate said at a press conference on Thursday. "I knew exactly where we stood with James last night and I didn't want him to train for no reason. With Jack, that wasn't possible because someone else might not make it."

According to The Telegraph, that someone else is Anthony Gordon. The Newcastle United forward was found to be just in time recovered from his ankle injury, after which Southgate approached Grealish. "I just had a very difficult conversation with a guy who is devastated," said the coach, indicating that other players had better seasons than the Man City player. "I hold him in very high regard as a person."

Not only was Grealish surprised, according to The Telegraph. Teammates reportedly comforted him in his hotel room, and one experienced player also kindly asked Southgate for an explanation.

Southgate had already left out experienced players like Marcus Rashford and Ajax's Jordan Henderson. Young players like Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Kobbie Mainoo (Manchester United), Adam Wharton (Crystal Palace), and Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace) are going instead.

Grealish's season at Manchester City was challenging, marred by inconsistent performances and limited playtime due to injuries and competition for spots in a star-studded squad. Despite this, his recent form for the national team had been promising. His assist against Bosnia-Herzegovina showcased his creativity and ability to impact the game even from the bench.

Southgate's decision to wait before speaking with Grealish was influenced by the uncertainty surrounding Anthony Gordon's fitness. Gordon, who has shown great potential and versatility, recovered from an ankle injury just in time to be considered for the squad. This last-minute change put Southgate in a difficult position, having to balance between form, fitness, and the team's overall needs.

The emotional toll on Grealish was evident. His teammates rallied around him, offering support and consolation. The scene in the hotel room, where experienced players showed empathy and sought clarity from Southgate, highlighted the close-knit nature of the squad and the respect they have for each other.

The inclusion of younger talents like Marc Guehi, Kobbie Mainoo, Adam Wharton, and Eberechi Eze marks a shift in Southgate's approach, focusing on the future and giving opportunities to rising stars. This strategy, while controversial, aims to build a more dynamic and resilient team capable of competing at the highest levels in the long term.

Grealish's exclusion, along with other seasoned players like Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson, underscores the competitive nature of the national team selection process. Each decision made by Southgate is scrutinized and debated, reflecting the high expectations and passion surrounding English football.

Updated: 10:23, 7 Jun 2024

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