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Grealish or Rashford? Twitter Explodes Over England Call-Up Debate

Grealish or Rashford? Twitter Explodes Over England Call-Up Debate

Gareth Southgate named his 33-man preliminary England squad for Euro 2024 with some surprising choices. While breakout stars like Crystal Palace man Adam Wharton and Liverpool defender Jarell Quansah were among the uncapped players picked, there were some really eye-catching absentees.

The biggest name to be snubbed from the squad is probably Manchester United man Marcus Rashford. Ex-Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson was not chosen because of fitness issues, as Southgate indicated. However, the England manager explained Rashford’s absence by claiming that there are simply other players playing better than him in that left-wing role.

Now looking at the names chosen, the ideal right-footed players for that left-wing role include Anthony Gordon, Eberechi Eze, and Jack Grealish. The two younger wingers enjoyed prolific individual seasons in the 2023/24 Premier League season, hence many feel their rewards are vindicated. However, many people are starting to question the basis on which Grealish has been chosen over Rashford.

In fact, a lot of Manchester United supporters are up in arms about this debatable decision by Southgate. The choice to snub Rashford surprised quite a few people, but the general feelings was he didn’t get picked because of his poor form at club level. But the Red Devils’ faithful have been quick to point out that, at least statistically, Grealish hasn’t done much better.

Jack has been rotated in that left-wing role with new boy Jeremy Doku in the 2023/24 season. He hasn’t exactly played that big of an influential role in helping Manchester City win their fourth straight Premier League. In fact, statistically, Grealish has had a pretty average campaign with Pep Guardiola’s side.

The 28-year-old winger only scored three goals and provided one assist in 20 Premier League appearances. In comparison, Rashford scored seven goals and provided three assists – even though he made 33 appearances for United. Even in terms of crosses and big chances created, Marcus stands out. Rashford created six big chances in the 23/24 league campaign and made 35 crosses, as compared to Grealish’ three chances and 16 crosses.

In all competitions, Rashford has 13 goal contributions (eight goals, five assists) in 42 games. Grealish has six (three goals, three assists) in 36 across seven competitions. Some even tried proving how bad a personal campaign Grealish by claiming he only had one more goal contribution in the 2023/24 season than Manchester United flop Antony. Amazingly, that is actually correct, as Antony has had five goal contributions in 38 games this season – mostly playing as a substitute.

Even when comparing Grealish and Rashford’s influence for England, the latter stands out. Rashford has scored 17 goals in 60 games for the Three Lions. Grealish has two in 35 appearances. The Manchester City man, however, has seven assists compared to Rashford’s six. There is a feeling that Marcus is more suited to compliment Harry Kane than Grealish too. This is because Rashford loves being played through on goals after his strikers come deep, drag defenders away and play him through – something Kane excels at doing.

A few fans are even convinced that Grealish might hold back England’s ultimate attacking power. There are questions on if the 28-year-old can even score goals upon being played through the left wing or dribble his way past defenders into central areas to take shots. This is mostly because Grealish’s style sees him move his way deep into the edge of the box before cutting back for passes, rather than taking shots.

Rashford might not have an impressive season, but neither did the Manchester City man. However, those defending Grealish claim he’s been chosen because he’s an ‘overall better player’ than Marcus, as in creates more chances and distributes the ball around better.

Another possible reason why Southgate chose Grealish over Marcus is potentially because of the 28-year-old’s impressive performances in Euro 2020. Grealish was excellent in that tournament, assisting two goals, while Rashford infamously missed the penalty in the final.

But with the kind of criticism laid into the decision to snub the Manchester United man, Southgate will really hope Grealish stands out in the matches in Germany to validate his decision to pick the underperforming Manchester City man.