Ray Parlour Euros exclusive: England can reach semis - even without Grealish

Tribal Football
Ray Parlour Euros exclusive: England can reach semis - even without Grealish
Ray Parlour Euros exclusive: England reach semis - even without Grealish
Ray Parlour Euros exclusive: England reach semis - even without GrealishAction Plus
“On a positive note, you want to lose a game like that before you start, but it’s certainly not ideal," says Ray Parlour on England losing their final game before the Euro’s. For the first time in 56 years England travel to an international tournament having lost their final friendly before the actual tournament.

“I'm sure people who've not been included in the squad, like Jack Grealish, will be looking at that and think 'well, this is interesting'. They've got to improve on that performance. Iceland were pretty much in control. I thought they played really well.

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“But again, sometimes you want to get a bad performance out of the way. You don't want it in a tournament, if you can help it, because you could be on your way home very, very quickly. So, as Gareth Southgate said after the game; 'I learned a lot of things tonight'. It'll be interesting to see what he's learned," Parlour continues when asked by Tribalfootball to assess to the upcoming Euros from an England perspective.

 

The spine is intact

It is no coincidence he mentioned Jack Grealish as the omission of the Manchester City trickster from the final squad was the biggest surprise to Parlour. 

“I would have had Jack Grealish in there. He's not featured as much as he did last season for Manchester City, but Man City are the top side in the world. We had a sports show on the radio on Friday and the big topic was; how can you leave Jack Grealish out?

“Also, from what I've seen of Jarrad Branthwaite, he's done really well, but maybe Southgate thought, he needed a bit more experience and went with Lewis Dunk. He won't let you down, he's a really good, solid defender. A little bit in the Harry Maguire mold, if you like. I think that's why he went with him,” Parlour ponders before expressing his delight of seeing Jarrod Bowen included.

”He can play a lot of different positions. He can play up front. He can play wide areas; he's going to be a good squad player to have."

While the squad for Germany on average is older than the one which reached the final at the Euro 2020, it’s been suggested in some quarters that the England squad look a little young in places with the likes of Kobbie Mainoo, Cole Palmer and Adam Wharton included. As Parlour points out, the spine of the team still consists of a lot of experience, though.

“Pickford has been in goal for many years, he’s played since the World Cup in 2018. At centre-half it looks like he's going with John Stones. Kyle Walker is a very experienced player. Kieran Trippier has been at big tournaments, so he knows the situation. Luke Shaw will probably come in at the latter stages.

“Then there’s Declan Rice, and I don't think anything fazes Declan. I've been speaking to him a lot this season. He's a confident boy. He's a little bit like Bellingham when he came on the scene. Sometimes youngsters are a little bit more fearless and what Bellingham did at his first ever tournament was unbelievable."

 

Brilliant game in the waiting

“Southgate is lacking a little bit of caps, but I still think it's a good young squad with good attacking ability. If you look through the team who’s made to start, Saka is brilliant on his day, Foden's been the best player for Manchester City this year. Declan Rice has been more or less the best player for Arsenal. You've got Bellingham, who's been excellent for Real Madrid, and Harry Kane’s been banging in the goals," Parlour points out of a team from which he expects a strong showing in Germany.

“We have to get to the latter stages with the players we've got. We're going into a tournament with all those players coming off the club season in great form. Sometimes it doesn't happen or and work like that, so it'd be interesting to see how they blend together. The balance in the team is going to be very important," says Parlour who is hoping a semifinal against France is coming up.

“If England win the group and France win their group, it looks like they can meet in the semifinal and that's going to be a brilliant game to watch. With this squad of players, you've got to be looking at the semifinals at least,” Parlour insists, even on the back of the Iceland friendly.

“Look, it was a poor performance and you've just got to forget about them. It's was a bad day at the office, make sure we win that first game in the group, and then you're back to winning ways and everybody's on your side again. Simple as that.” 

 

- Ray Parlour was talking to Tribalfootball on behalf of NetBet Sports Betting