What Southgate liked about Grealish's performance during England’s World Cup win
Gareth Southgate “particularly liked” Jack Grealish’s late goal during England’s opening-day victory over Iran. A resounding performance saw the Three Lions romp to a 6-2 win to get their World Cup campaign off to a flyer.
Manchester City record signing Grealish was named on the bench alongside Phil Foden but made his mark after coming on in the 70th minute. Callum Wilson broke free in stoppage time and charged towards the Iranian goal.
The Newcastle United striker could have taken a shot himself but chose to selflessly tee up Grealish - whose celebration honoured a young City fan with cerebral palsy - for a simple tap-in. An easy finish was the 27-year-old’s second goal in England colours.
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Speaking post-match, Southgate singled out Grealish’s goal for praise as it showed the team spirit within the camp. He told the BBC: “It’s great (the opening-day win). I particularly liked Jack Grealish’s goal. Callum Wilson could have come on and been selfish but he’s thinking of the team.
“I’m a miserable so and so, I should be more excited but I’ve got to keep the team on the right track and we have to be better. I think it’s a consequence of the scoreline, we had 24 minutes of added time across the game so it’s a long time to focus. We lost concentration and when we play at a slower tempo we’re nowhere near as effective.”
Former Man City defender Micah Richards also expressed his delight at Grealish getting on the scoresheet. The 2011-12 title winner added: “I’m so happy (for Grealish). All his time at Man City, everyone looks at the goals, assists… you have to give credit to Wilson but the composure to hold the run and finish (was excellent).
“The desire to get the ball… he just checks, Wilson stops and sees him. I’m so happy he’s had a chance and taken it.”
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