Ashley Cole and Jamie Redknapp single out one England star after Belgium defeat

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish was singled out as the one positive after England’s 2-0 defeat to Belgium in the Nations League.

Goals from Youri Tielemans and Dries Mertens means Gareth Southgate’s side cannot qualify for the Nations League finals.

The Three Lions’ failure to score means Southgate’s side have scored just one goal from open play in their last five Nations League fixtures.

However, if there was a positive for England on the night then it was the performance of Grealish.

Much has been made of Southgate’s treatment of the midfielder and he was making his first competitive start for the Three Lions at the age of 25.

Grealish carried England’s attack in the second half and Sky Sports pundits Jamie Redknapp and Ashley Cole were in agreement that he must start from now on.

Asked if there were any positives to take from the game, Cole said: ‘Yes, his name is Jack Grealish.

Expanding on the point, Redknapp said: ‘It’s been a long time since I’ve watched an England game and I’ve found myself watching a certain individual where you’re thinking, ‘please get the ball to him’. 

‘I remember as a kid thinking how I wanted to see the likes of Gascoigne and John Barnes on the ball, thinking ‘wow, that’s what I want to see’. Tonight, watching Jack Grealish I was urging England to get him on the ball as something would happen. It was a joy to watch.

‘Playing in the esteemed company of Kevin De Bruyne. Grealish was the best player on the pitch by a long way. In the second-half he ran the game.

‘He was so confident, and I feel the bigger the game, the more we will see from Grealish. He was so comfortable tonight and I want to see him more regularly now. This is what people have been crying out for.

‘It doesn’t always work when fans have been crying out for a player who doesn’t rise to the occasion, but he showed today what he’s all about. He’s a class act. He wins fouls, the skills he shows, and how he goes past players effortlessly. He was a joy to watch.’

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