Former England international Glen Johnson says Jack Grealish has not been good enough this season to deserve a starting spot for the Three Lions.
Grealish was named among the substitutes for England’s opening World Cup game against Iran, with Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka preferred on the flanks.
Gareth Southgate’s men ran out 6-2 winners, with the Manchester City star coming off the bench to score his team’s final goal.
However, Johnson is not convinced by that strike – and feels the 27-year-old’s tally of just one Premier League goal at club level justifies Southgate’s decision not to start him.
Speaking exclusively to Lord Ping, he said: “Grealish has not been good enough by his standards to get a start for England.
“If he had been scoring goals and getting assists for Man City, he would have more foundations to start for England.
“Of course he scored against Iran, but it was a tap-in, that was not a Jack Grealish goal [that reflects] his ability.
“It’s great for the scoresheet but he has a lot more to offer.”
Johnson feels similarly about Marcus Rashford, who also came off the bench to score, insisting that the Manchester United forward’s goal should not elevate him above Saka or Sterling.
And the former England right-back has suggested that Rashford may be less effective against quicker defenders of a higher quality, in which case Grealish could be the more dangerous option to bring on.
“It would be harsh for Rashford to start in front of the lads who scored the first four goals, you don’t want to change the team when you’re winning,” Johnson added.
“Rashford is an incredible player and for someone like him to come off the bench and have that impact is exactly what you need to get to the final in these tournaments.
“Of course, he’d be disappointed to not be starting, but he’ll have more confidence [now] and I’d be surprised if he’s not the first striker off the bench next time.
“Overall, I’d want Rashford to come off the bench first out of the attackers, but it will depend on who we play against.
“If it’s a top team, you might pick Grealish who can do something a bit deeper in the park.
“If Rashford is up against good, quick defenders, he won’t be as effective as he was against Iran.”
The game vs. Wales made it possible to change a few options, still Grealish did not play from start, but Rashford were given confidence and made the most out of his performance with two fantastic goal. Another starter is Phil Foden who also showed his skills and the England team looks stronger and stronger with many player able to make special impact.
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