Jose Mourinho has backed Jack Grealish to be the creative spark that ‘shy’ England need against the Czech Republic this evening.
England face the Czech Republic in their final Euro 2020 group stage fixture at Wembley, with the Three Lions already assured of their place in the next round, but in need of victory to secure top spot in the group.
Gareth Southgate’s side have largely laboured in the tournament so far, with the goalless draw against Scotland on Friday seeing England booed off the pitch by sections of the home support.
Mourinho has opened up on how he feels England can improve and believes it is time for Southgate to place his trust in Aston Villa captain Grealish, who came on as a second-half substitute during the draw with Scotland.
Mourinho believes that the 25-year-old’s fearlessness on the pitch can make a huge difference to a ‘shy’ England team and says Grealish is a player who can make things happen for Southgate’s side – comparing the star to former Portugal icon Luis Figo.
“England look like a shy team, so they need Jack Grealish against the Czech Republic tonight,” Mourinho writes in his column for The Sun. “He looks like he has always been on that stage.
“The guy is brave. The guy never played a European match for his club but he arrives in the national team and is fearless.
“He risks. He gambles. He loses the ball. He creates. He kicks people. People kick him. He creates instability in opponents. And he wins free-kicks. You win free-kicks in wide areas then you go with Harry Maguire or Tyrone Mings or John Stones and Harry Kane — and England are powerful on set-pieces.
“England looked a shy team against Scotland because they were a team without that thing that Grealish has.
“I don’t like comparing players — and Luis Figo was at a different level — but Grealish is like Figo in that he’ll demand the ball. He says, ‘Give me the ball and I will resolve this!’
“Grealish didn’t play amazingly when he came on against Scotland but how many times did he have the ball? How many fouls did they commit on him? How many one-against-ones did he create? England need these qualities.
“If you start with Grealish and you have a striker like Harry Kane, you also want a runner to attack spaces — so you need either Raheem Sterling or Marcus Rashford.
“Sometimes with City, Sterling is so wide he is talking to the linesman. Then suddenly the space is there and ‘boom’ the run is made.”
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