England were treated to a show at Wembley as they comfortably defeated the Republic of Ireland on Thursday night, with the two men in the spotlight turning in excellent performances.
Goals from Harry Maguire, Jadon Sancho and a penalty from Dominic Calvert-Lewin saw the home side waltz to a 3-0 victory, on a night where both Jack Grealish and Mason Mount started together for Gareth Southgate’s side.
Lined up in a 3-4-3 formation, Mount started in a midfield two alongside Tottenham’s Harry Winks, with Grealish taking up his role on the left of the front three alongside Calvert-Lewin and Sancho.
Once again, Grealish shone in his role getting another assist on the night. That makes it two assists in two starts for the national team, to go with his five goals and five assists for Aston Villa this season too. Mount provided an attacking spark from central midfield too, something that the team has been crying out for in recent international breaks.
The performances went some way to putting to bed the myth that the two players are competing directly for a place in the squad with each other, with many speculating that they couldn’t play together due to their roles for their clubs being very similar.
The two proved however that they absolutely can fit into the side together and that both have got qualities suited to the roles set out by Southgate.
Coming off early would usually be a sign that they could have some kind of involvement from the start against Belgium on Sunday, but England’s squad is so strong the likelihood is that neither will begin the game.
That’s not so much of a problem in the short-term and the fact they’ve been able to shut it down as a long-term problem will be seen as a positive for all parties. It’s a great problem for Southgate to have and it’s a good position for both players to be in also, knowing that it’s not one or the other going forward.