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Sports News

Southgate backs Grealish, Mount to shine together for England

Soccer Football - UEFA Nations League - League A - Group 2 - England v Denmark - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - October 14, 2020 England manager Gareth Southgate looks dejected after the match Pool via REUTERS/Toby Melville

(Reuters) - England manager Gareth Southgate said midfielders Jack Grealish and Mason Mount can play together for the national team on the evidence of their performances in Thursday’s 3-0 friendly win over Ireland.

Southgate had benched Grealish for last month’s Nations League games against Belgium and Denmark but handed the Aston Villa man his second England start, playing him in an advanced role on the left with Mount keeping his place in midfield.

Asked on ITV if the duo could play together more frequently, Southgate said: “Yeah of course. There’s a lot of other players in the squad as well, we have great competition for places.

“I was pleased with the way they moved the ball, Harry Winks did well, Bukayo Saka on the left looked a lot more comfortable than his first game.”

England beat Ireland for the first time since 1985 thanks to goals by Harry Maguire, Jadon Sancho and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Southgate said he was particularly impressed with how Sancho and Grealish combined in attack.

“The two players in those roles... they’ve got the freedom to go either side and create overloads, and at times they did that really well,” Southgate added.

“I thought the midfield players used the ball quite well, and the combination with the full backs and forward players was exciting.”

England will be without injured striker Marcus Rashford and defender Conor Coady, who is self-isolating as a precaution, for their Nations League matches against Belgium on Sunday and Iceland three days later.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin

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