Jack Grealish is not good enough for England, claims Danny Mills.
On Monday, the Aston Villa captain received a maiden call up to the national team after Marcus Rashford and Harry Winks withdrew ahead of the Nations League double-header against Iceland and Denmark.
Grealish had initially been overlooked, with the decision to call up Kalvin Phillips – who has yet to play a single minute of Premier League football in his career so far – sparking plenty of debate.
But Mills insists England boss Gareth Southgate made the right call to initially snub Grealish, who scored eight goals and provided six assists in the top-flight last term, as he won’t be part of the Three Lions’ future plans.
“People keep saying, ‘why is he not in the squad?’ Well, he’s not good enough, because if he was good enough, Gareth would have picked him. It’s as simple as that.
“He might get a cameo, but in what position? It might have to be in the wide forward positions.
“I don’t think Gareth and the England coaching staff see him as disciplined enough on the pitch to do a job.
“We’re not talking about Iceland and Denmark, you’re looking when you get to quarter-finals, semi-finals when you’re playing against Germany, Spain and France, can you hold that role?
“Like Mason Mount, we’ve seen him do it for Chelsea, he can stay in that pocket and sit and do that job very, very well.”
While Mills doubts Grealish can be a success at international level, he is convinced Leeds’ Phillips will become a key man for England.
Phillips missed just nine matches as Leeds ended their 16-year Premier League exile by winning the Championship title last season.
And Mills has backed the 23-year-old to be England’s first-choice holding midfielder at next summer’s European Championship finals if he has a good start to the upcoming campaign
He added: “I think Kalvin Phillips will get a chance [to play] because he is a true out-and-out holding midfield player. I know it’s in the Championship, but I’ve seen a lot of him.
“He’s got all the attributes, whether he can now deliver that, mentally, and stand up to the challenges and the media speculation and everything else, we will see.
“But I think he’s got all the attributes to be that holding player. If he has two or three good months at the start of the season, he will be the holding midfield player going into the Euros.
“How many holding midfield players do you know in the Premier League or wherever it might be that take corners and free-kicks?
“His range of passing, his delivery is exceptional, he likes to tackle and he’s quite happy to play that holding role.”