Jack Grealish claims criticism of Mason Mount is "annoying" and believes the Chelsea star is "underrated"
The two young midfielders have long been battling for a starting spot with England.
Mount has been a fixture in Gareth Southgate's squad longer than Grealish, which in itself has divided opinion.
The pair have similar qualities but, last term at least, were playing for teams at opposite ends of the table.
Grealish though does not see Mount as a threat and feels as if he deserves more praise for the job he does.
"I love Mason," he said. "It’s a bit annoying actually because he probably gets a bit of stick about it at times but I’ve always been close with him.
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"I think he’s an absolutely terrific player. I don’t even feel like we’re fighting for the same spot to be honest.
"If anything I think Mason’s underrated and he deserves all the credit he gets and I think that people who know about football will understand just how good he is."
Mount himself has also insisted that Grealish is not a rival and they can play in different positions in the same team.
He said: “I’d never look at it as a rivalry. We are two different players and we do different things.
“We are kind of different players. We can play in different roles.
“Jack? You know what he can do. He’s a world-class player that can create and score goals and that’s what we need in any England team.
Grealish has scored five times in eight games for a Villa side that have started the season impressively.
He put in a stellar performance as they stuck three past Arsenal at the Emirates last time out.
Mount meanwhile is playing in a side that is bursting with talent following several summer arrivals at Stamford Bridge.
Who should start for England – Grealish, Mount or both? Have your say here.
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