Karen Carney recently appeared on the BBC’s Football Daily podcast and discussed why she believes Jack Grealish has often been overlooked by Gareth Southgate when selecting his England squad.
The 24-year-old has recently been called up to the national team following the withdrawals of Marcus Rashford and Harry Winks (as per BBC Sport). Grealish performed excellently in the Premier League last season, averaging a performance rating of 7.23/10 (via WhoScored.com).
His eight goals and six assists in the top-flight contributed to Aston Villa securing their place in the division for next season. So why has he had to wait so long for his first call-up? Here is what Carney had to say:
“I think the reason why he has struggled to get picked from Southgate is, I was speaking to a few coaches about it, is his defensive work. I don’t think at the international level you can probably carry Jack in his defensive work. He’s not as good as the other players in the off-the-ball stuff and you have to be good at international level both on and off the ball.”
“That defensive responsibility at the top level, I think that’s where he is probably not at his best. I think that’s the reason why he doesn’t get picked, it’s that off-the-ball defensive work.”
Is Gareth Southgate correct to have overlooked Grealish up until now?
In the Premier League last season, Grealish averaged 0.8 tackles per game and 0.6 interceptions per match which supports Carney’s point with regards to his defensive contribution being one of his weaknesses.
Taking all of the above into consideration, the former England international could be correct.