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Gareth Southgate says Jack Grealish must play in the Premier League to earn England call-up

Jack Grealish
Image: Jack Grealish last played for England U21s two years ago

Gareth Southgate says Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish must be playing in the Premier League before he can be considered for an England call-up.

Grealish switched allegiances from the Republic of Ireland to England in 2015, and has won seven caps for England U21s.

However, he has not made the step up into the senior side and last played in the Premier League in 2016, when Villa were relegated to the Championship.

Jack Grealish
Image: Grealish has helped Villa to four successive wins since returning from injury, scoring twice

Grealish, 23, has been in good form for Villa since returning from injury earlier this month, but Southgate said: "Jack worked with us in the U21s briefly.

"Although we can see the quality, when the evidence of the opponent is a different level, that's where it's hard to directly correlate what that's going to look like at a level above.

"With Callum [Hudson-Odoi], he's playing Europa League, he's playing Premier League - that does make a difference.

"I'm not going to say we won't pick a player from the Championship because that could happen but it's far more difficult to assess his level.

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Jack Grealish
Image: Grealish has two goals in seven games for England U21s

"You see certain parts of the game but not others [in the Championship]. Not the physicality at times, nor the tactical discipline. That's another level in the Premier League - the speed, the pace.

"He's a player we know all about, he's a player we track, but that last bit of evidence that could give you confidence to pick him at the moment we won't see.

"But as an ex-Villa man, I hope it's not too long before we do see it."

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