Jack Grealish cost £100m - Newcastle United's £40m ace is better and deserves England's left-wing spot

Anthony Gordon (left) and Manchester City ace Jack GrealishAnthony Gordon (left) and Manchester City ace Jack Grealish
Anthony Gordon (left) and Manchester City ace Jack Grealish | Getty Images
Anthony Gordon is the standout candidate for Gareth Southgate at Euro 2024 - he has left Jack Grealish and Marcus Rashford in the dust

Gareth Southgate will have the crux of his England team set in stone. Just five weeks remain until the Three Lions go roaring into Gelsenkirchen with the weight of a trophy-starved nation on their shoulders.

For the most part, the starting line-up picks itself. Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Declan Rice, Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Harry Kane, barring injury, are safe bets to face Serbia on June 16.

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But the left flank provides a conundrum - and Anthony Gordon should be licking his lips. Even Southgate, judging by recent selections, appears unconvinced on who to unleash against the Serbs.

England’s previous four games have seen Marcus Rashford, Jack Grealish, Gordon and Foden given the nod. Newcastle United star Gordon has come of age this season and should fancy his chances given the competition.

Admittedly, Foden should be one of the first names on the team sheet but as a central cog rather than out wide. Rashford was once the poster boy of English football but his struggles this season epitomise Manchester United’s drastic decline.

That leaves a straight shoot-out between Gordon and Grealish. The Toon ace was a million miles away from the senior squad 12 months ago but his heroics at under-21 level, where he was crowned Player of the Tournament as England won the Euros, and for Newcastle have propelled him into contention.

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Gordon hit double figures for goals and assists in the Premier League at the weekend. For context, Grealish has never achieved that feat in a decade of professional football. How good does the £40million paid to Everton look now?

The 23-year-old’s debut against Brazil last month ended in defeat but the fearlessness of his performance impressed Southgate. The Three Lions boss said: "I thought Anthony looked like he had been in an England shirt for a long, long time. He looked very settled with it. He took his club form into an England shirt and we are really pleased with him.”

By contrast, Grealish’s form has been patchy. The 28-year-old hit back at the stat zealots by insisting his game involves deeper thought, an insight acknowledged by Pep Guardiola.

But Gordon is razor-sharp, agile, direct, both-footed and a constant menace for defenders. Even the most fervent Man City fan probably cannot say the same for Grealish.

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The Newcastle ace has bagged more goals (0.33) and assists (0.33) per 90 minutes than his counterpart (0.27 and 0.09). He averages more take-ons per 90 minutes (4.05) than Grealish (3.66) too.

A niche stat that Grealish enthusiasts use to defend him is the amount of fouls he draws. This is essential in major tournaments, with set pieces a vital weapon and often the difference between success and failure.

To his credit, he has been fouled more (3.66 per 90 minutes) than Gordon (2.16). However, a startling fact is how the Toon ace has earned six penalties - more than any other player in the Premier League this season.

By comparison, Grealish sits on zero. Gordon has also made the most spot-kicks (eight) across the past three top-flight campaigns. In layman’s terms, he can do everything the £100million man does and more.

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Southgate was given another glimpse of Gordon’s brilliance from the Turf Moor terraces on Saturday. An all-action display from the winger, and a penalty to boot, further showed why he should be in the team - not just the plane - when England aim to bring football home this summer.

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