KEY POINTS

  • Grealish earns maiden senior England call-up
  • He replaces injured Rashford in Nations League squad
  • Rashford has pulled out due to a slight ankle injury

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has received his maiden call for England’s senior squad ahead of the UEFA Nations League. He has replaced Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, who pulled out due to an injury.

After being initially left out of Gareth Southgate’s squad, Grealish joined them Monday as England are gearing up for their Nations League fixtures against Iceland and Denmark, according to England national team's press release. The Three Lions face Iceland in Reykjavik on Saturday before traveling to Copenhagen to play Denmark on Sept. 8.

A statement from Man Utd has stated Rashford’s injury is not major but a slight ankle issue. However, the forward has decided to focus on his recovery ahead of the 2020-21 season.

"Marcus is completing his recovery from a minor ankle problem in order to be ready for the Premier League season. The England games are just too soon given our short break after the Europa League," read Man Utd’s official statement.

Meanwhile, Rashford wrote about it on his social media account saying he is gutted to miss out on playing the upcoming Nations League games, but he made the decision to ensure he starts the season at his strongest for his club and country.

Man Utd kickstart their 2020-21 Premier League campaign by hosting Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Sept. 19.

Grealish, who has previously represented England’s Under-21 side, was part of Southgate’s 2016 Toulon Tournament-winning squad. The Aston Villa winger earlier had played for the Republic of Ireland -- he is eligible to play for them through his grandparents. However, in 2015, Grealish announced he had opted to play for England for the rest of his international career.

The 24-year-old, who has been a fan of the Villa Park side, joined their youth academy in 2001. He rose the ranks and made his first-team debut in 2013. It took him two years to finally score his maiden goal for Aston Villa. The last two seasons have seen Grealish become a key member of the Aston Villa squad, having scored a tally of 16 goals.

He has attracted the attention of several top European clubs in the course, especially Man Utd that have made Grealish one of their top targets this summer. However, the deal has not professed further because of the player’s reported transfer fee of $93 million.