Manchester City midfielder Jack Grealish faces a “big challenge” to find his debut goal for England, coach Gareth Southgate said ahead of their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Southgate was happy with Grealish’s start to life at new club Manchester City, where he has bagged two goals and two assists in all competitions after his British record transfer from Aston Villa.
But the England coach wants the 26-year-old playmaker to add goals at the international level after having gone 15 matches without scoring since his debut in September 2020.
“I think he recognised we asked certain things of him in terms of when he first joined us,” Southgate said on Saturday.
“The big challenge with us is he’s 15 games without a goal. The big challenge is to start registering those numbers that our other wide players have been able to produce over a period of time. There’s no reason he can’t do that.
“He’s physically in a better place. He’s able to play the midweek games now. When we had him at the end of the season he was only able to train two days in every three, so it’s a completely different situation to the European Championships.”
Grealish could have the chance to break his international drought when England play away against Andorra on 9 October before hosting Hungary on 12 October in the World Cup qualifiers.
Although England need eight points from their remaining games to be certain to qualify, they could manage it with two wins next month, depending on other results.
They are top of the group with 16 points from six games, four more than second-placed Albania and five ahead of Poland.