Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish gets first England call-up as Marcus Rashford withdraws

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Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has been given his first England call-up following the withdrawals of Marcus Rashford and Harry Winks from Gareth Southgate’s squad.

The 24-year-old could make his international debut in England’s Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark, which are both being shown live on Sky Sports.

Grealish impressed as he captained Aston Villa to Premier League safety last season, but once more was left out as Southgate named his initial squad last week.

Southgate explained Grealish’s omission was down to the presence of “incredible players” in the squad already who play in the same position, with the England manager mentioning the likes of Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford.

Manchester United forward Rashford took to social media to explain his absence shortly after his withdrawal was confirmed on Monday.

“Gutted – never want to let this team down but these fixtures just came a little too soon for me,” Rashford wrote on Twitter.

“I tried my best but I have to focus on starting the season at my strongest for club and country. Good luck boys, I’ll be cheering you on from home.”

Grealish’s addition follows Saturday’s call-ups for Wolves defender Conor Coady and Arsenal full-back Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who are both also included for the first time.

England face Iceland in Reykjavik on Saturday in their first fixture since last November, before travelling to Copenhagen to face Denmark three days later.