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Jack Grealish: What next for Manchester City forward after England Euro 2024 omission?



It is almost 12 months since Jack Grealish stood at the front of the Manchester City bus in the pouring rain, arms out, top off, taking in the adulation of the fans who turned out to hail their Treble-winning heroes.

Grealish was the star of the show, taking to the microphone as he stood with his team-mates on stage to admit he hadn’t slept for 24 hours, in the gap between conquering Europe in Istanbul and getting soaked in front of thousands in Manchester.

It was entertaining to see Kalvin Phillips pour liquid from a bottle straight into his mouth, Gazza-style, as the party began.

Grealish had earned this frivolity.

As City closed in on a historic Treble, the 28-year-old, who became the most expensive player in English football history when City signed him from Aston Villa for £100m in 2021, had played a central role.

He had started the crucial Premier League game against Arsenal on 28 April, played every minute as City destroyed Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final, 89 out of 90 minutes in the FA Cup final success against Manchester United and finally, the entire match as City beat Inter Milan to lift the Champions League for the first time.

Grealish was at the top of his game, justifying City’s spend on him and why coaches at Manchester United had wanted the England international themselves.

Grealish was centre stage in another City parade last month, almost tripping up at the front of the bus, which could have had disastrous consequences.

Yet somehow, it doesn’t seem quite so amusing – not now that Grealish has missed out on selection for the Euros, to the benefit of West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen and young trio Cole Palmer, Anthony Gordon and Eberechi Eze.

It is possibly no surprise – if City boss Pep Guardiola wasn’t picking Grealish, why should England manager Gareth Southgate?

Grealish featured for 10 minutes for City in May against Wolves, when he came on with his team already 4-1 up.

He remained on the bench as City beat Tottenham and West Ham to become the first team in England to win the title in four successive seasons and, when Guardiola needed someone to try to turn the FA Cup final around at Wembley, the attacking players he brought on were Jeremy Doku and Julian Alvarez. Grealish got no further than a warm-up.

“Devastated” was Southgate’s assessment of how Grealish was when he gave him the bad news.

“Gutted” was long-time team-mate and close friend Declan Rice’s view.

Rice sensed something was wrong when he saw Grealish on the phone as he was getting treatment.

“He told me over lunch he had been left out,” the Arsenal midfielder told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I am gutted. We are best friends. He is like a brother, someone you sit with every day, go in the hot tub with and now they are gone.”

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