Southgate explains subbing Grealish on and off in England Euro 2020 semi-final win over Denmark


Gareth Southgate has explained his decision to sub Jack Grealish on and off in England's Euro 2020 semi-final win over Denmark.

The Aston Villa playmaker has become a fan favourite, with calls for him to be handed a more prominent role in the Three Lions' plans intensifying with each passing game.

He has, however, started just one fixture at this summer's European Championship and was denied the chance to see out the 2-1 victory over the Danes on Wednesday as, having been introduced in the 69th minute, he was hauled off shortly after Harry Kane slotted home the rebound to his missed penalty in extra-time.

What has been said?

Justifying that tactical call, England boss Southgate told talkSPORT: "Jack had a brilliant influence on the game.

"Denmark threw four forwards forward and we needed five [defenders] back. Raheem [Sterling] was such a threat that it was either going to be Phil [Foden] or Jack to get the solidity without the ball.

"We still needed to get that pressure up the pitch. We sank a little bit too deep for five minutes or so. We just needed to keep the ball and it took us five minutes to work that out. When we started to keep it, we were running the clock down with a lot less anxiety."

Grealish made way for Kieran Trippier as Southgate threw on an Atletico Madrid right-back to keep the back door bolted.

Grealish's reaction

The 25-year-old midfielder looked understandably disappointed at the time to see his number held up.

Southgate has, however, united his squad and the Villa captain was happy to revel in historic achievements afterwards as England celebrated reaching a first major final since 1966.

He said on social media: "I love this team!! What a night at Wembley!"

The bigger picture

England will now face Italy in Sunday's Euro 2020 final, with the Three Lions looking to end 55 years of hurt.

Southgate is aware that his job is not done yet, but he is proud to have delivered on expectations and given the country coming to shout about.

He said: "We said we wanted to create memories for our nation, now we've got to finish the job. Finals are there to be won, we've got to regroup, repair and recover because tonight has taken a lot emotionally and physically.

"I think Denmark had only lost four matches out of 30-odd games; Italy's record is even better than that. They have been a top team for the last couple of years, we've followed their progress closely, we know the way they play, with great energy and style.

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"They are, as always, difficult to score goals against, and without doubt deserve to be in the final, having beaten two top teams to get there in Belgium and Spain.

"So it's the biggest possible test we can have. We have a day less to recover but we've got to prepare from now. It is wonderful to have the opportunity to take them on."

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