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Paul Merson slammed for Grealish comment – adds two England stars ‘might as well go home’

Paul Merson has been slammed after his Grealish comment and adds two England stars ‘might as well go home’ after Sunday’s selection.

The ex-footballer turned Sky Sports pundit says Gareth Southgate could make major changes to his starting XI for England’s second Euro 2020 Group D game against Scotland.

Merse, who won 21 caps for England between 1991 and 1998, was full of praise for the Three Lions boss Southgate’s team selections in Sunday’s 1-0 victory over 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia.

However, Merson thinks the England boss should freshen up his line-up, and one player he does not believe will get picked is Premier League playmaker Jack Grealish.

Merson was delighted with England’s impressive display against Croatia, but reckons there’s still one area of the team that is causing him to be frustrated.

He said: “Southgate has to be careful with his selection against Scotland as he does not want to bring unwanted pressure on himself by making too many changes.

“If he brings in Jack Grealish and he rips it up, people are going to want him to play every game. But he will not play against Scotland. If you play Phil Foden, Grealish, and Mason Mount all in the same team, then when will England be getting the ball back?

“Sterling played well, Foden showed glimpses, Harry Kane struggled as he kept on coming short into a packed midfield, where he was never going to find space, he needed to go the other way and stay up top if he wants to get involved with the team.

“We just need to get him chances, but even if he does not score in his first four games of the tournament, he will still play in the fifth.

“But he has to change it up against Scotland, 100 per cent. He might swap a Foden for a Jadon Sancho, or Marcus Rashford.

“The problem with playing Grealish, though, is the whole nation wants him to start as he is the ‘new Gazza’. He is a top-drawer player, don’t get me wrong, but I do not think he fits into Gareth’s plans.

“And if he plays him and he rips it up, then Gareth is under severe pressure again when he does not need to be under that pressure.

“And that is why I do not think he came on against Croatia, as it was made for him with Croatia chasing the game 1-0 down. No one keeps the ball better than Grealish.”

He continued: “I think he will change it and I would as well. You have to remember we are hoping to go all the way, so you cannot expect the same 11 players to play all these games in this heat and not change it up.

“And the one advantage we have over all the other teams is we may not have the best XI, but we have the best 23. I could change all the front players, apart from Kane, and we would not be weakened. I could bring in Rashford, Grealish, Jude Bellingham, and Sancho.

“I could also bring in Ben Chilwell and Reece James in the full-back positions and again, it would not weaken the team and this is why we have a massive advantage. But you have to use that advantage as there is no point having all these players if you are going to keep on playing the same team.

“And with England almost through, this is why I would experiment now. We should look to win every game as it is all about confidence, rather than worry about where we should finish in the group.

“If you win your first three group games, then it does not matter who you play in the next round.

“So just keep on winning.

“That team on Sunday won’t win the Euros and I only mean that at the back against better teams, it will be dangerous, especially with a back four. But other defenders will come back and he could then go to a three and play horses for courses.

“My worry, though, has always been and will always be at the back. I have no problems with the midfield and going forward.

“We have Declan Rice, Mount, Bellingham, who is a phenomenal player sitting on the bench, Phillips who produced.

“My worry though is when we were really on top against Croatia – because what we do then usually is fall asleep. It becomes too easy. And then all of a sudden the team breaks on us, like what happened against Austria and Romania.

“So until we play someone who is defensively solid, I will always worry.

“But going forward, no worries, and all Gareth has to do is get his selections right. You have to remember these players have played a lot of football this season.

“But what I do like is Gareth will do it his way…

“Raheem Sterling runs without the ball, and that is where the goal comes from, so I was not surprised by his selection at all, I thought he was a shoo-in.

“You cannot experiment with the first game, it is the biggest game. Gareth can experiment now though as we are virtually through.

“Fair play to Gareth as he is getting pelters if that does not come off and that is what I like about him – confidence in his own ability to go: ‘You know what, I’m going with what I believe and I’m not going to listen to the public. It is my job and I have to do this my way.

“If we lose on Sunday, then he is in major trouble, so that was a big gamble.

“If I’m Luke Shaw or Ben Chilwell, though, I might as well go home now with Gareth having gone for a right-footed left-back in Kieran Trippier.

“I also thought playing a back four was a big gamble, but we can’t get carried away as Croatia were terrible and looked well past their sell-by date.

“In midfield, Kalvin Phillips’s performance shocked me if I’m being honest.”

Fans reacted as Paul Merson is slammed by some for his Grealish comment – before he then adds two England stars ‘might as well go home’…

@brad_97: Merson you been on the drink again?

@itistshego: Paul Merson just said if Southgate plays Grealish, and Grealish plays well, then Southgate will be under pressure, therefore they shouldn’t start Grealish 😭😭😭😭😭 the most stupid take I’ve heard all say

@Mal_TQ: “If he plays and rips it up Southgate is under severe pressure to play him again so he won’t want to do it”, Get this guy off Sky Sports right now

@joey_morgan20: Paul’s on the drink again

@Scottnicholls22: If you consider him such a top player, then he’s got to play. If he rips it up 👌 that’s what you need to win tight matches. If he struggles, which I highly doubt based on his directness and difficulty to keep under wraps, then at least you’ve played him and there’s no what ifs

@benniedwyer86: Not playing Grealish in case he plays too well and causes a selection headache is the most moronic thing Merson has said and that’s saying a lot.

@UtdSantos: So don’t play Grealish incase he plays well? What?

@iamappers: There’s a reason Paul Merson isn’t a good pundit.

@my_sum: Paul Mersin with yet another bad take

@Toby_brand: This bloke is an absolute weapon, how’s he got a job at Sky

@_barneywynne_: This man gets paid for these views

@_JoeMacdonald: Paul Merson shouldn’t be given a platform to speak on as big as sky sports, the stuff he says is utter drivel

@Davids____15: lmaoo this is some of the worst “logic” i’ve ever had the displeasure of reading.

@UZish07: “If he rips it up then hes under pressure to play him again” M8 if someone plays well then play him again because he can win you the match. I genuinely question how Sky sports allow merson to talk so much when 90% of the things he says is just stupid

@lukesuli: If he plays him and he rips it up, how is there any pressure!?! You just play him again, as if he’s going to rip it up he’s going to win you football matches.

@Samigul69: So… he’s afraid that Jack Grealish will play well?!!

@pete_brum: Same bloke that thought Kevin Debruyne wasn’t up to much when city signed him.

@TMexico13: Great player for Villa but a poor “pundit”.

@BurpleMan: Imagine paying sky £40 a month for that insight

@Nick03112606: Great logic 🤷‍♂️😂

Paul Merson slammed for Grealish comment

Reaction continue as Paul Merson was slammed for his Grealish comment…

@Jbocktwatter: If a manager is worried about picking a player incase he plays well and ‘rips it up’ then football management is not for him

@Filthy_McTurner: Just won our first ever game at the Euros, squad looks settled, good performance against last tournaments World cup finalists (not same squad granted, but by no means a bad side) and people like Merson who managed Walsall for two years are picking holes in it. Have a day off.

@Mat_Man_Miracle: Stupid comment by Merson. JG has waited his life for his time to come in a big tournament. He has to be used in games where teams will probably sit deeper against England and he can stretch/unlock the opposition a bit/lot. The Gazza comment is ridiculous, he united us in euro96

@jnwally: So what you’re saying is, Southgate can’t play him in case he’s brilliant? Ok Merse 😂😂😂

@seanmlufc: Merson hasn’t got a clue, don’t know how he’s a pundit.

@C_John_C95: Let me get this straight. He doesn’t want grealish to play and be brilliant as this will put him under more pressure?!

@douglas_bray: Merson talking absolute nonsense… standard!

@JayMTDee: ‘If he plays him and he rips it up, then Gareth is under severe pressure again when he does not need to be under that pressure’ – Our National side mentality in a nutshell….. Absolute embarrassment.

@christs_chins: Utterly clueless

@KaneJHarris: Who gave Merson a pint?

@Ollierowland24: What a thick thing to say Merson 🤦🏻‍♂️

@alexlb1504: What is this clown on about

@firkins11: If he rips it up he’s going to put Southgate under pressure? Never in my life have I ever seen a manager under pressure for playing a player that wins them matches. Merson doesn’t half chat some shit

@craiglufc97: Paul Merson talks shite nothing new

@_max110: Please @SkySportsNews get Merse off your panel he genuinely talks the most bollocks ever.

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