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Fabregas gives Grealish advice ahead of Scotland showdown

Cesc Fabregas, Jack Grealish
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Ahead of England and Scotland’s showdown in Euro 2020, Cesc Fabregas has urged Jack Grealish to stay patient.

Jack Grealish should seize whatever opportunity comes his way with England as it could force an opening into Gareth Southgate’s line-up, says Cesc Fabregas.

The Aston Villa captain was left as an unused substitute in the Three Lions’ 1-0 win over Croatia last weekend and now hopes to make his Euro 2020 debut against Scotland on Friday night.

Given Grealish’s stellar displays in the Premier League last season, and with the national team recently, seeing him on the bench against Croatia was a surprise.

But Fabregas has been in Grealish’s position before. He impressed in the Premier League at Arsenal as a youngster, but struggled to hold down a spot with Spain when La Roja were arguably at their absolute peak between 2008 and 2012.

“In the 2008 European Championships, I started the tournament as, let’s say, Spain’s number 12 player. I was always the first change, the player to come off the bench,” Fabregas wrote the Telegraph.

“My job to start with was to make an impact and, actually, I enjoyed it knowing that I’d usually get my chance in the 55th or 60th minute trying to make a difference and this is something that I believe Jack Grealish or Jadon Sancho could do for England at this tournament.

“Substitutes can be so, so important at this point in the season and in these short tournaments. I can tell you and I would say the same to Grealish or Sancho or whoever else, that playing 30 minutes in tournaments like this you can be much more important than someone who plays from the start.

“I know that for sure because I experienced it myself. In half-an-hour you can kill a game and everyone can be talking more about you and how you played for 15 minutes or whatever than the guy that started from the beginning. And, of course, in 2008 I ended up starting the final and winning.

“It slowly built up for me and it can be like this for Grealish or another one of the England players. You need to be ready at any moment, to either play, when you have been on the bench, or to come off the bench and make an impact.”

The former Arsenal, Barcelona, and Chelsea midfielder thinks how Grealish handles his role in Euro 2020 could prove key for his future.

“In the specific case of Grealish, this has been his first big season where everyone outside Aston Villa talks about him,” continued Fabregas.

“I don’t know what his future will be, but there could potentially be a big move for him, so he needs to show he is ready for any situation.

“If he did move to a Manchester City or Manchester United, nobody will guarantee that Jack Grealish will start every single game and these kinds of clubs will be looking to see that he is ready to compete.

“It’s similar for Sancho, even though he was not in the squad for the first game, and these players like him and Grealish can have very important tournaments for England, even if it is off the bench to start with.”