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‘Have to put that right’: Pundit urges ‘perfect chance’ to unleash Aston Villa gem at Euro 2020

Andros Townsend has urged Gareth Southgate in his column for the Mirror to start Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish in England’s final Euro 2020 group stage match with the Czech Republic on Tuesday night.

Grealish has only played a bit-part role at the European Championship so far with just one cameo appearance to his name. The 25-year-old was left an unused substitute of the opening game as the Three Lions beat Croatia 1-0.

He was unable to inspire a win against Scotland, either, as England struggled for any creativity at Wembley. Southgate’s attack was heavily laboursome and lacked the movement needed to unlock a resilient visiting backline.

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Grealish sought to drag England into the game with some mazey runs during his half an hour on the pitch. But the Aston Villa star failed to create the needed spark, despite his good work and his rapturous welcome.

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Yet Townsend expects Southgate to unleash Grealish and start the Aston Villa talisman against the Czech Republic on Tuesday. As the former England international believes he could be key to unlocking Harry Kane’s full potential.

“I believe Gareth Southgate will be looking to start Jack Grealish,” Townsend said. “Tomorrow night’s game against the Czech Republic is the perfect chance for us to find ways to get Harry Kane into the game. Jack is one of them.

“We may have picked up four points from our two games so far – I’m not too despondent about the Scotland draw – but we’ve only scored one goal. With one of the world’s best strikers in our ranks, we have to put that right.

“Jack can play in one of two roles, off the left or in the No. 10 position. Against the Czechs, I’d stick him on the left, with a free role to roam, and get as close as possible to Harry.”

TBR’s view: Southgate should start Villa star Grealish

Townsend is right to urge Southgate to start Grealish as the Aston Villa star can be key to England beating the Czech Republic. For one, he offered more than Phil Foden against Scotland, after replacing the Manchester City whizkid.

Nothing Foden tried seemed to work out as his cuts inside restricted the space for England to exploit. Kalvin Phillips and Mason Mount also struggled to offer much creativity from the centre, while Raheem Sterling struggled out wide.

It was no wonder after their performances that Grealish received such a warm welcome on the hour mark. But the Three Lions’ lacked movement, plus a spirited Scotland defence, meant the Villa star could only do so much.

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