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Mesut Ozil has urged Gareth Southgate to unleash Jack Grealish “the magician” after England got their Euro 2020 campaign off to a winning start.
Raheem Sterling scored the only goal as the Three Lions overcame their World Cup conquerors Croatia 1-0 at Wembley.
The Manchester City forward was a highly divisive selection, coming off the back of his worst season at The Etihad Stadium.
Much of the debate stemmed around the non-inclusion of Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish, who impressed in both of England’s warm-up friendlies.
Prior to the win over Croatia, Jose Mourinho claimed Grealish was “untouchable” and compared the 25-year-old with Portuguese legend Luis Figo.
Gareth Southgate was an unused sub for the win over Croatia at Wembley
“Harry Kane is untouchable, Jack Grealish is untouchable and the best position for Grealish is coming in from the left,” he told talkSPORT.
“For me, Marcus Rashford can only play there. When he plays on the right, he is completely lost.
“He is dynamic but on the right totally broken. He is very good on the left attacking spaces.
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“But Grealish, for me, is tremendous and what he creates and his personality – ‘give me the ball’ – he reminds me a little bit of Luis Figo.
“The way Grealish gets the ball and attacks people, gets fouls, gets penalties, he’s very powerful, I like him very much.
“So I would say Grealish on the left, Mason Mount as the number ten and because I like the wingers to come inside, I would play Phil Foden on the right.”
Raheem Sterling scored the only goal after being preferred to the Aston Villa skipper
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Southgate ignored the noise however and his Sterling selection reaped benefits to give England a huge chance of securing a place in the last-16.
But in a Tweet after the win, Ozil admitted that he hopes to see Grealish, who remained on the bench on Sunday, unleashed soon.
The former German international also heaped praise on Kalvin Phillips after he put in a Man of the Match display, also creating the game’s only goal.
Ozil’s post read: “What a player Kalvin Phillips…hope to see also the magician Grealish soon on the pitch.”
Asked about his decision to start Sterling, Southgate claimed his performances in an England shirt means he will always have faith in the player.
“Well, look, he’s a good player. His goalscoring record suggests that we should have faith in him, especially in the last few years.”
He did hint however, that the players that didn’t get a go in the opener, will be needed with England hopefully set for six more matches in less than a month.
“I think for him and for everybody, we know that we’re going to need that depth and all of those attacking players.
“There are a couple that didn’t get on today, but we will need those guys in the tournament. We can make changes and we will need to."