Gareth Southgate has rubbished the comparisons between Jack Grealish and England legend Paul Gascoigne.
After a superb full Three Lions debut in last week’s 3-0 win over Wales, the Aston Villa skipper is being hailed by some as the new Gazza.
But Southgate, who played alongside Gascoigne for England, believes such hype is wrong.
The national boss insists nobody, past or present, warrants being classed in the same bracket as the brilliant ex-Spurs and Newcastle playmaker.
Southgate said: “When you’re talking about Gascoigne, there's not a player in English history at that level, in my opinion.
“I don’t want to be dampening the enthusiasm for Jack and I don’t want that to be seen as a criticism.
“I played with Paul Scholes, phenomenal, Wayne Rooney, phenomenal, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham – amazing attacking players who won the Champions League, went on to 100 caps and broke records.
“But with Gascoigne, you feel he’s so unique and was such an incredible player. It’s like talking about Bobby Moore.
“You shouldn’t burden players coming through. Jack has a style different to all the players I mentioned and the others in the squad.
“So, I kind of understood the comparisons – but Gascoigne was another level to anything I played with.”
Whether Grealish retains his place against Belgium this afternoon remains to be seen.
Southgate added: “I’m in a fortunate position with decisions to make on who starts and even, given the size of the squad, who’s on the bench.
“It’s not so straightforward.”
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