Harry Redknapp backs Jack Grealish to start for England ahead of Foden, Sterling and Maddison

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Harry Redknapp has selected what he predicts should be England’s starting XI for the Three Lions’ World Cup group stage fixtures - and he controversially includes Jack Grealish.

Former football manager turned-pundit Harry Redknapp has backed ex-Aston Villa star Jack Grealish to start for England at the World Cup. The 75-year-old believes Grealish has what it takes to push the likes of Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and James Maddison out of the team.

Grealish, who was sold by Villa to Manchester City in 2021 for a club-record fee of around £100 million, has failed to rediscover the heights he managed in the West Midlands. With just one goal involvement and only eight Premier League appearances out of an available 14 this campaign, the 27-year-old has struggled but Redknapp has kept faith in his ability.

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Asked by Bet Victor to select his favoured XI for the group stages, Redknapp decided to use a three-back formation with wing-backs, two central midfielders, two wide forwards, and a striker. He made some controversial inclusions in defence, with out-of-form duo Harry Maguire and Eric Dier both earning a spot alongside John Stones.

Up top, Redknapp opted for Harry Kane as a number nine with Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka to the right and - rather contentiously given his form - Grealish on the left. “I just love Grealish,” Redknapp told Bet Victor. “I’d want to get him in my team, I’m a great Grealish fan. I’d play a split front; Saka and Grealish.”

The former Villan earning a spot means fellow Cityzen Foden, who has scored seven and notched four assists this term, misses out. As does Leicester City playmaker Maddison, who has contributed the same goal involvements for his own side. Sterling, meanwhile, wasn’t even mentioned.

Harry Redknapp is backing Jack Grealish to start for England at the World Cup in Qatar.Harry Redknapp is backing Jack Grealish to start for England at the World Cup in Qatar.
Harry Redknapp is backing Jack Grealish to start for England at the World Cup in Qatar.

Explaining his choices behind Grealish, Redknapp said: “In midfield, I’d play Bellingham. I think he’s an absolute star - a massive talent. To be captain in Borussia Dortmund at 19 years of age tells you just how good he is. I’d play him in midfield with Declan Rice. There’s plenty of young energy with the two of them. Declan’s already got loads of experience. They’d be my two.

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“At the back, I’d play Trent Alexander-Arnold as a right wing-back. I think he’s perfect for that position, he gets caught out defensively at times, but I do think in the system that I would want to play that we can cover for him. I’d also go with Dier and Maguire - which I know a lot of people wouldn’t agree with. But I don’t really see any way that Harry doesn’t go. He’d still be in my team and I don’t see anybody else around.”

Harry Redknapp’s England team:

Starting XI: Jordan Pickford; Eric Dier, Harry Maguire, John Stones; Luke Shaw, Jude Bellingham, Declan Rice, Trent Alexander-Arnold; Jack Grealish, Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane.

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