Jack Grealish has come out in support of England team-mate Mason Mount, insisting he finds criticism of the Chelsea star “annoying”.
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has been accused of favouring Mount over Grealish in recent months, with a number of fans calling for the Aston Villa ace to replace him in the side.
Nevertheless, Southgate hit back at those accusations in his press conference before Thursday’s 3-0 win over Ireland, joking that he will continue talking about Mount in public to “keep the memes going” on social media.
While they have been the subject of regular comparisons, though, both players were included in England’s starting lineup against Ireland.
The midfield duo certainly impressed at Wembley, proving they are capable of operating in the same XI.
And after the victory, Grealish heaped praise upon Mount and claimed his England pal should not be the subject of such fierce criticism.
“I love Mason,” he said.
“It’s a bit annoying actually because he probably gets a little bit of stick at times from it, but I’ve always been close with Mase. I think he’s an absolutely terrific player. And I don’t even think we’re really fighting for the same spot to be honest.
“I think if anything Mason’s underrated and he deserves all the credit he gets.
“People that know about football will understand just how good he is.”
Grealish laid on the assist for Jadon Sancho’s strike against Ireland, which moved England 2-0 ahead on the night.
The 25-year-old has now earned three caps for his country, making his full debut in last month’s friendly win over Wales.
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“I want to play as much as possible,” Grealish added.
“All I have to do is impress the manager as much as I can, since I've been here he's been brilliant with me, speaking to me on and off the pitch, telling me what he wants me to do, and that's what I've tried to do. So finger's crossed.”
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