Rooney names ‘awkward’ England star he would love to manage above all

Date published: Sunday 13th June 2021 2:39 - Jonny Whitfield

Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Ben Chilwell England Euro 2020 June 2021

Former England international Wayne Rooney says that he would love to coach Aston Villa’s Euro 2020 hopeful Jack Grealish.

The Three Lions have come into the tournament – as always – with exciting anticipation about their expectations. Gareth Southgate‘s side reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2018, with the England team developing since then. Indeed, the addition of more exciting attackers is one of the biggest changes.

Villa captain Grealish, Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Chelsea’s Mason Mount have all added exciting dimensions.

In fact, they are the sorts of skilful and technical players the Three Lions have struggled to create in the past.

Speaking to The Times, ex-England star Rooney picked Grealish out as one of his most admired stars.

The now-Derby boss said: “Jack Grealish is the closest thing I’ve seen to Gazza [Paul Gascoine] on a football pitch.

“He has a lot to do to reach Gazza’s levels but his style of play, the way he takes the ball and runs with it in a way that is so awkward to play against, his sheer confidence on the field – it all reminds me of the legend I watched at Everton, and then trained with when I joined their first-team squad.

“For England, I think Harry Kane is the most important player but Grealish is the one who is going to light up the tournament. He has to play.”

Grealish has risen to prominence in the past two seasons after guiding his boyhood club back to the Premier League.

Since then, he has taken fantastically to the top flight, contributing 14 goals and 18 assists in that time.

However, Rooney insisted that the 25-year-old has perfectly adapted to the international scene too.

Rooney reveals Grealish, England admiration

Grealish Southgate TEAMtalk

“Just like Gazza, his style is suited to the international game, where moments of inspiration often make the difference,” Rooney added.

“If you’re looking for someone to open a team up with a bit of magic then Grealish is the one who can do it for Gareth Southgate’s side.

“He attracts defenders, draws fouls and wins free-kicks in dangerous areas. He creates chances and scores goals too.

“Foden is a top player, a footballer who – as you see at Manchester City – will link play up, pass and move and can dribble too. But it’s Grealish who commits defenders more, dragging them out of position, which will create space for other players.”

Grealish was named on the bench for England’s Euro 2020 opener against Croatia on Sunday.

READ MORE: Carragher wants England Euro 2020 ‘reality check’ as ‘nightmare’ awaits Southgate

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