Gareth Southgate’s latest Jack Grealish snub ‘is personal’ claims Lee Hendrie, who reveals he ‘didn’t get on’ with England boss at Aston Villa

Gareth Southgate’s decision to leave Jack Grealish out of the latest England squad was ‘personal’.

That’s according to former Aston Villa ace Lee Hendrie, who told talkSPORT he didn’t see eye-to-eye with the Three Lions boss during their spell together at Villa Park.

Southgate has faced criticism after Tuesday’s 24-man England squad announcement for upcoming Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark.

Grealish played an instrumental role in helping Aston Villa avoid relegation from the Premier League, but he’s again been ignored by England boss Southgate
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Many expected Aston Villa captain Grealish to receive his first ever call-up to the senior team following a stellar season, scoring ten goals and providing six assists as he led his beloved club to Premier League safety.

But Grealish has again been left out in the cold by the boss, who instead picked the uncapped Phil Foden and Kalvin Phillips in midfield.

Explaining his decision, Southgate pointed to the strong competition for places but named forwards and wingers Mason Greenwood, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford as Grealish’s competition, not those players in his preferred midfield spot.

But Hendrie believes Southgate’s decision was influenced by Grealish’s attitude, not his ability on the pitch.

Speaking to talkSPORT host Jim White on Wednesday, the former Villa academy graduate revealed he and Southgate often clashed in the dressing room over his ‘Jack the Lad’ attitude.

And he claims the same could now be happening to Grealish, who he insists fully deserves his chance at international level.

“Villa didn’t have a great season by any accounts,” began Hendrie. “There was no consistency there. But if you were to take someone out of that team that stood out, by a long way it was Jack Grealish.

“His goals, his creativity, at times you have to look back and think he half kept the club up by himself up by the end of the season, and I just feel that this was his time to get in.

“He’s had a full season; he’s led a very big club in Aston Villa and I just feel that whether there’s something personal with Gareth and his situation and why he hasn’t picked him…

“Listen, I’ve been in the changing room with Gareth and we clashed really bad, and that was because I was a Jack the Lad and Gareth was obviously Mr Professional – that’s why he’s England manager and I’m sitting here on the phone to you guys!

“I just feel there might be something a little bit personal; whether it’s Jack’s attitude, his past, certain circumstances that have gone on over the COVID-19 thing where he got caught out…

Lee Hendrie and Gareth Southgate played together for six years at Aston Villa, and later faced off against each other when the defender joined Middlesbrough

“I can’t say it enough, Gareth has done a fabulous job. He’s done great nurturing some of these youngsters, we’ve got a fantastic squad of players and I get that it’s headache, but this was ideal for Jack to come into that squad. Everyone is crying out for him and I think this would take him to the next level.

“I’m just looking at the players in the team; Phil Foden is a very good player but he’s been bit-part this season, whereas Jack’s been there throughout the season. He’s captain of Aston Villa!

“I just feel… knowing what Gareth’s like and being in a changing room where we fell out on many occasions over stuff with me being a bit of a Jack the Lad, I just feel that this could be a little bit personal.”

Grealish will feel aggrieved at failing to make another England squad, despite his brilliant season for Villa
– Getty

Jim couldn’t resist but ask for more detail on Hendrie and Southgate’s apparent bust-ups.

And the ex-Villa man obliged, describing one particular ‘kicking match’ in training and also saying he felt the former centre-back ‘always had his eye on me’.

“We did clash… we had many,” explained Hendrie. “He had his eye on what I was doing at times and he did frown upon some of the things I did.

“I was a young man in the team at the time and Jack is a similar age. It was well-documented I did like to have a night out in Birmingham, although I did it in the right way, I didn’t go out before games.

“I’d always have a bit of a bickering match with Gareth all the time. He’d always give me the evils as soon as I walked in on a Monday morning, asking ‘have I been out’ and that.

“We had a kicking match once in training. He caught me once in a tackle and said something, so I had to nail him! It was a late one and then we got head-to-head with each other.

“Obviously it happens on the training field, but I just felt we always clashed really bad.

Birmingham boy Hendrie came through the ranks at Villa Park and spent 13 years at his boyhood side

“I think he’s a great man, and he’s done a great job at England; he’s gone on to better things now and I wish him well, but there was always a clash between us because our personalities just didn’t go.

“He was a great guy, a great player at Villa, and he always had our best interests at heart, and that’s what I’ll always say about Gareth.

“But does he know much about Jack Grealish? Probably only what he’s read about him and seen on the pitch.

“I’ve always looked out for Jack. I’ve always spoken to his dad and if there’s stuff going around I always have a chat with him, he’s a great lad and he will be gutted about this.”

Listen to Lee Hendrie on talkSPORT, above…


By: Joe Moore
Title: Gareth Southgate’s latest Jack Grealish snub ‘is personal’ claims Lee Hendrie, who reveals he ‘didn’t get on’ with England boss at Aston Villa
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Published Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2020 17:28:51 +0000