England manager Jack Grealish has backed Gareth Southgate after he was criticized “too harshly” following the disappointing results of the Three Lions in the summer.
While the World Cup in November is the focus of England’s attention, Southgate’s side are at risk of relegation from their Nations League group ahead of Friday’s match against Italy.
England failed to win any of their four Nations League matches in June, a poor streak that saw two embarrassing defeats against Hungary.
That drew heavy criticism for Southgate, but Manchester City and England’s Grealish believes it’s unfair for a manager who has led his country to the Euro 2020 final and the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.
“We got to the final last year and then the Hungary game (we lost 1-0) at the start of the last camp. I think before that the last time we lost a game more than 90 minutes was probably Belgium in November 2020 or Grealish said.
“So I think it’s very difficult, especially as you saw in the World Cup and the Euro how well the team and the manager himself are doing.
“I thought it was downright cruel but sometimes that’s what you get if you’re English. I’ve definitely had my fair share!”
Grealish knows all about the public criticism after his erratic performances with Premier League champions City since his British record 100 million pound ($113 million) move from Aston Villa last year.
The 27-year-old scored his first goal of the season in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Wolverhampton, with his City teammate Kevin De Bruyne then suggesting English players are unfairly targeted for abuse.
“I can clearly see where he’s coming from a little bit. But I think that’s exactly the case in this country, especially if I myself, play for one of the biggest clubs in the world, who win titles for everyone,” Grealish said.
“And obviously when I have the price tag that I have on my head, people are going to want to talk. It’s just something I need to[confront].
“I keep coming back to it, and saying cuddling it and it’s just so integral, really. But, yeah, I see where it’s coming from for a bit.”
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