Aston Villa player Jack Grealish got his first call-up to participate in the national team on Monday, after Marcus Rashford and Harry Winks withdrew from the matches that will bring England against Iceland and Denmark in the European Football League next September.
The absence of Grealish from the first list of coach Gareth Southgate was a surprise after his excellent performance with Aston Villa last season and contributed to the survival of the team in the Premier League.
But the withdrawal of Manchester United striker Rashford and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder gave the Villa winger or attacking midfielder the chance to make their first appearance with the world champion in 1966.
Grealish, 24, who was linked by some press reports to his move to Manchester United this summer, represented his country with the U-21 team and was part of the team that won the Toulon Junior Championship title in 2016.
On Saturday, Southgate summoned Wolverhampton defender Comor Cody and Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles for the first time as well, after he was excluded from the Red Devils captain Harry Maguire after a criminal court ruling on the Greek island of Cyrus.
Maguire has appealed against the 21-month and 10-day suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of “assaulting representatives of the state,” “bodily harm,” “verbal insults,” and “attempted bribery” for his involvement in a nightclub brawl. Under Greek law, the appeal overrides the original conviction as there will be a full retrial.
Rashford announced he was withdrawing due to his ankle injury since the end of last season.
He tweeted on his Twitter account, “I am disappointed. I never wanted to let the team down, but these matches came a little early for me. I did everything I could, but I have to focus on starting the season with the strongest form with the club and the national team.”
The national team met at the “St. George’s Park” training headquarters on Monday, before their match against Iceland in the capital, Reykjavik, on September 5, and they will meet Denmark in Copenhagen three days later.
© 2020 AFP