Gary Neville has praised Gareth Southgate for not bowing to public pressure over Jack Grealish on Sunday.

The Aston Villa playmaker was an unused substitute in the 1-0 win over Croatia at Wembley with Phil Foden, Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling starting in support of Harry Kane.

Grealish is not short of admirers and there were calls for him to be capped by England long before Southgate picked him.

It led to suggestions that the Three Lions boss didn't fancy the Villa star.

He has played more regularly in recent months however but Neville doesn't feel as if Grealish warrants a start over some of his team-mates.

Jack Grealish was left on the bench at Wembley
Jack Grealish was left on the bench at Wembley

"Jack Grealish, I think all of us were debating before the game whether Jack would start," he said on the Overlap.

"Whether he would play as a 10 or in the wider areas, we all thought he'd come off the bench.

"But I just think it shows the surety of the manager that he didn't even bring him off the bench. He bought Bellingham on, Calvert-Lewin on and Rashford on.

"He didn't sway to the public opinion like many have in the past.

"One thing I would say about Grealish, I love him, he's a brilliant player and he'll play a big part in this tournament, but would I play him ahead of Harry Kane? no obviously.

Gareth Southgate has continued to make difficult decisions
Gareth Southgate has continued to make difficult decisions

"Would I play him ahead of Mason Mount at the moment, no. I think Mount connects the team, he's like the glue of the team.

"I think the midfield and the attack are joined by him. Defensively I think he's really dependable.

"Would he play in front of Foden on the right? no, I'd play Foden. So you're talking about that left-hand side. Sterling, I know a lot of people think he had a difficult end to the season, but with Kane up front and Foden on the right you have to play pace on the left.

"So for me it wasn't a surprise that Jack didn't play."

Neville has not been shy in hailing Southgate as a huge plus for England.

This is his second major tournament as manager following his impressive work in Russia three years ago.

"Our biggest assets is our manager," said Neville.

"He is willing to make the unpopular decisions and the decisions that some of us at times don't think he should make.

"But he knows that group better than anyone and he knows how to get a performance and a result better than anyone."