‘There is a line’: Southgate urges Jack Grealish to keep partying in check

Grealish enjoyed wild week after Champions League triumph a bit too much according to his England boss.
Jack Grealish was having the time (Image- The Guardian)
Jack Grealish was having the time (Image- The Guardian)

Gareth Southgate has warned Jack Grealish not to cross the line with his partying after winning trophies.

Grealish's alcohol consumption drew much of the focus after Manchester City completed the treble last weekend and Southgate wants the winger to be ready to play for England.

City's England contingent have been on a high since beating Internazionale in the Champions League final and were never going to start Friday night's Euro 2024 qualifier away to Malta.

Southgate, who indicated that he will use Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield, will look to rest Grealish, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker, John Stones and Kalvin Phillips. He also has a decision to make on Declan Rice after the 24-year-old won the Europa Conference League with West Ham.

But while Southgate acknowledged the emotion of winning the Champions League, he has spoken to the players about maintaining focus. There was also a message to Grealish about his wild celebrations days before an England international.

"There is a line," England's manager said. "But in our head we weren't thinking of including the City players for this game. We've been through this scenario three or four times in the last few years with our players leading into games. It's a huge occasion.

"We've got a lot of our players in for the full training week and we were able to work tactically. And we needed to give those guys [City's players] the time to take everything in.

"But point No 1, they all wanted to come in to be with the group, which is fantastic. The focus has been good." Southgate was asked if it was excessive of Jack Grealish to party for three days.

"As I have said, I have spoken with the players and we have talked about where our focus needs to be and where we need them to be," he said. "We have acknowledged what they have experienced and that is for me to manage over the coming weeks."

Jack Grealish arrives for England training earlier this week.
Jack Grealish arrives for England training earlier this week.(Image- Action Images/Reuters)

It is rare for modern players to be so visible with their drinking. "A few of our players would be teetotal [when I played]," Southgate said. "What is different is that everyone posts everything. I wouldn't have liked a few of my nights out to be posted publicly. My generation would have been in a lot more problems."

England top Group C after winning their opening games against Italy and Ukraine. Southgate could start Marc Guéhi in central defence and Conor Gallagher in midfield against Malta, who are 172nd in the Fifa rankings.

The trip to Ta 'Qali Stadium will bring back memories of one of the lowpoints of the Southgate era – the night when England were booed by their supporters after leaving it late to beat Malta 4-0 in a World Cup qualifier in September 2017. "It wasn't a pleasant journey to the stadium, and it was less pleasant going home," Southgate said.

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