Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish's agent hits out at Gareth Southgate over Hungary substitution

Max Cooper
Grealish was brought off with England level with Hungary
Grealish was brought off with England level with Hungary / Matthew Ashton - AMA/GettyImages

Jack Grealish's agent Jonathan Barnett has criticised Gareth Southgate's decision to substitute the Manchester City star in England's draw with Hungary, believing the creative midfielder was the best player on the pitch.

Fans were left mystified when Southgate opted to replace the 26-year-old while in search of a goal, and the Three Lions ultimately failed to find a way through their stubborn opponents.

Grealish was visibly frustrated to have been sacrificed by his manager, and his agent Barnett has hit out at the England boss for his decision-making. Barnett also said it was a 'mystery' why Grealish was substituted, and suggested Southgate only picks him 'by default.'

“He loves playing for England, he really does. He is very proud of it. It’s very ­important that he does well for England, very important," he said.

“It was a mystery [why he was substituted]. It’s strange but maybe Gareth Southgate doesn’t think he fits into his type of team. He appears to have got into the England team by default.

“Gareth Southgate is the manager but in my opinion Jack is the best player in the country in that position.

Jack Grealish, Gareth Southgate, Bukayo Saka
Not happy to be subbed / Julian Finney/GettyImages

“He’s one of the few who will put bums on seats. People go along to watch him. I think Pep Guardiola and all the people at Manchester City are good judges.

“For them to lay out that sort of money, I think they know what they are doing. I don’t think you have seen the best of him yet. He could become one of the best players in the world.

“Unfortunately if he doesn’t play enough for England it will be England’s loss – but he will achieve great things with ­Manchester City.

“Going forward people will ­recognise him for what he is. I’m not going to lose any sleep over that. He will be a great asset for Manchester City and we hope for England.

“Most of the people watching and the so-called experts all said the same thing, he was the best player on the field against ­Hungary.”

Southgate has regularly come in for criticism over his use of Grealish, and infamously substituted him in the Euro 2020 semi-final having only brought him on as a substitute himself in the second half.