Gareth Southgate has admitted it will difficult to accommodate all of England’s in-form attackers and says he must find the right balance at Euro 2020.
Jack Grealish strengthened his case to start against Croatia at Wembley next Sunday with another impressive performance as England beat Romania 1-0 in their second and final warm-up game at the Riverside Stadium.
The Aston Villa playmaker followed his standout display in Wednesday’s win over Austria by winning a second-half penalty, which was converted by captain Marcus Rashford.
Southgate says Grealish has the quality to “turn matches” but Phil Foden and Mason Mount are also pushing for places after fine seasons, while the England manager is likely to select at least one more direct forward from Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.
“It’s definitely going to be difficult to fit all of them in!” Southgate said.
“There’s got to be a balance to any team and there’s always a numbers game to be played. In the last couple of games we’ve got four attacking players into the team and different teams have different ways of doing that.
James Ward-Prowse strengthened his case to to take injured Trent Alexander-Arnold’s place in the squad with an impressive display, including two superb free-kicks to create chances for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The Southampton midfielder’s hopes are enhanced by Jordan Henderson’s lack of match fitness, although the Liverpool captain made his first appearance since February as a half-time substitute, missing a second penalty after Calvert-Lewin was fouled.
“Prowsey’s professionalism and approach all week, given the disappointment of being left out, has been absolutely first class. The decision won’t necessarily be about the performances today as such,” Southgate said. “It’s going to be positional really, and the area we might need the most cover.
“We know the situation Hendo is in,” he added.
“He’s been a very positive influence around the camp, with the group. It was a step forward for him physically today, which was important in order for him to play some part in the tournament and we’re realistic about what that could be.
“With the penalties we’re very diligent about the way we practice them, I didn’t expect what happened to happen and I would’t expect that to happen again.”