Friendlies are often fun prospects offering a chance for teams to try out new approaches or throw in some youngsters. Be it at the club or international level, the expectation remains the same, a low-key affair that hopefully doesn’t tread into the mundane territory.
However, referees, as they so often do, can play spoilsport and hamper the fun a tad.
Such was the case during the friendly between England and Ivory Coast, despite Manchester City forward Jack Grealish‘s best efforts.
It occurred during the 40th minute of the friendly after a coming together between Serge Aurier and Ollie Watkins.
The former Spurs man seemed adamant that he was brought down by Watkins and called for a foul.
The referee looked far from convinced and began reaching into his pockets to brandish a card for Aurier’s protests.
A surefire yellow on the face of it, so naturally, players were surprised when the ref reached into his back pocket and handed Aurier a red.
Among those in surprise was Jack Grealish, the English international pleaded for Aurier’s case with the ref and said, “ref it’s a friendly”.
Unfortunately, the red stood and Ivory Coast’s hopes of making a comeback, having been a goal down, were quashed as they now went a man down.
Nevertheless, fans online appreciated Grealish being a good sport and the clip has earned him praise from many.