Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wouldn’t think twice about picking Ben Chilwell over Luke Shaw for England.
And since Shaw was the best left back in the Premier League last season, I think this helps explain why Mourinho didn’t last at another English club, getting the axe from Daniel Levy at Tottenham before his side played a EFL Cup final.
Mourinho also overlooked Marcus Rashford for England’s Euro 2020 opener against Croatia on Sunday, which I could at least understand because he has played through injuries for months making it next to impossible to reach previous levels of performance.
There’s no denying that the Euros has come at a bad time for Rashford. Not long ago there was talk about a delayed operation – just so that he could work around the summer tournament after a hectic domestic campaign.
However, back to Shaw, who Mourinho frequently singled out for public criticism during his time at Old Trafford. The current AS Roma boss praised the left back for his impressive campaign, but insisted he would have absolutely no hesitation to pick Chelsea’s Chilwell ahead of him.
Of course he would.
“At left-back I would go with Chillwell,” Mourinho told talkSPORT. “I wouldn’t think twice. I’d go with Chillwell.
“I know that he plays normally with Chelsea in a five, but he is intelligent, he covers the space and the diagonals inside very well, he’s dangerous in attack, he’s good in the air and good on set pieces, he can defend well the possible long build up from Croatia on the first phase.”
When asked if he would play Shaw, Mourinho replied: “No.
“I think he’s had a good season. Clearly an evolution in terms of emotion and professionalism. But Chilwell has something more, especially with the ball. The way he thinks, he is very calm under pressure.
“I like Chilwell a lot.”
He would also pick Grealish over Rashford, adding: “I think Grealish is untouchable. And the best position for him is coming from the left, which creates a situation where, for me, Rashford can only play there.
“I think when he plays on the right he is completely lost. The dynamic with Rashford on the right, it is totally broken, he doesn’t find it. He is very good on the left at attacking space and I would see Harry (Kane) dropping and him attacking the space in behind.
“But Grealish, for me, is tremendous and what he creates and his personality – ‘give me the ball’ – he reminds me a little bit of Luis Figo.
“I don’t like making comparisons, especially with a Golden Ball winner, but Grealish reminds me of my Figo.
“Figo, I had him in different periods in my career but I had him in his last season as a player at Inter Milan and even in his last season he was like, ‘give me the ball and I will resolve the problems for you’.
“The way Grealish gets the ball and attacks people, gets fouls, gets penalties, he’s very powerful, I like him very much.”
The only United player Mourinho would pick for his England XI is Dean Henderson.
José Mourinho picks his England starting XI for the first game of #EURO2020 .
Some big calls in this selection 👀
Do you agree? pic.twitter.com/5bKcnDhfaV
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) June 11, 2021
What decisions would you make if you were Gareth Southgate? Let us know in the comments section below.