England had an unenviable feeling of a deja vu against Belgium on Sunday night.
The Three Lions may have prevailed against FIFA’s number one ranked team at Wembley, but there was a fair amount of luck involved and normal service was resumed in Brussels at the weekend.
That’s because England suffered the same fate they did twice over at the 2018 World Cup by falling short against Roberto Martinez’s men without even notching a goal in reply.
Belgium 2-0 England
And in truth, the game was over within the opening exchanges as Belgium raced into a 2-0 lead that England never really threatened to overhaul.
Questions were raised of Jordan Pickford when Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans opened the scoring, but there could be no denying the brilliance of Dries Mertens’ second with a fine free-kick.
But try as England might, coming closest to scoring when Romelu Lukaku cleared Harry Kane’s header off the line, there wasn’t even a consolation strike to celebrate on the road.
Grealish impresses vs Belgium
However, that’s not to say there weren’t positives from a night that marked Gareth Southgate’s 10th defeat in the job, because one player, in particular, caught the eye of those watching.
His name is Jack Grealish. That’s right, the Aston Villa man seems to be going from strength to strength since returning to the Premier League and now he’s doing the business for England.
One of the biggest criticisms thrown at the Three Lions has been their lack of creativity and although it took a while for Grealish to be implemented, it seems that he could be the answer.
Grealish’s highlights vs Belgium
The Belgium defeat marked Grealish’s first competitive start for his country and his dogged display drew praise from England alumni such as Ashley Cole, Darren Bent and Jamie Redknapp.
Check out Grealish’s finest moments during the game, courtesy of Twitter user @BnsComps, to really see the Villa hero sticking it to one of the best teams in the world:
Praise from England alumni
Bent tweeted after the game: “What a performance from @JackGrealish, think you need to add his name alongside Kane and Sterling as a must start going forward.”
It’s pretty hard to disagree with him, particularly after watching Grealish’s highlights and you can be sure to check out Cole and Redknapp’s rave reviews in the Sky Sports studio too.
Grealish catches Fabregas’ eye
The World Cup winner simply tweeted: “Great personality Jack Grealish,” after an interview that saw the 25-year-old explain that he’s been researching Kevin De Bruyne and Philippe Coutinho.
You can check out Grealish’s interview down below which, for all intents and purposes, does nothing but demonstrate that he has the perfect attitude towards playing for his country:
The world is Grealish’s oyster
What an incredible week it’s been for Grealish.
You could swear that every time he pulls on the England jersey he attracts wide-spread praise, but Sunday night marked the first time he was able to strut his stuff against world-class opposition.
So, to all the doubters who sprinkled boulders of salt on his masterclasses against Wales and Ireland, it might be time to come to terms with the fact Grealish is one of England’s best players.
At the rate he’s going, even Southgate – for all the memes and social media gags – won’t be able to resist starting him when England get underway at Euro 2020 next summer.
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