Southgate eagerly anticipating link-up with Aston Villa star Grealish

The Aston Villa youngster has been called up by the England U21s.

Gareth Southgate has told Aston Villa’s official website that it is exciting to be linking up with midfielder Jack Grealish.

The England U21 manager handed Grealish his first England call up this week as he named his squad for the Toulon Tournament.

The Three Lions head to France to take part in the tournament this month, where they will take on Portugal, Guinea, Paraguay and Japan.

It is the first time Grealish has been a part of the international set up, having turned down the chance to feature for the Republic of Ireland.

His call up is something of a surprise given the poor year he has endured with Aston Villa, but Southgate says he can see a sparkle in the youngster’s eye.

"It's a really good opportunity for us to work with Jack and for him to see how we work,” he told

“It was nice to see that glint in his eye after what has been a difficult season for Villa. Like many others, it's an opportunity for him to play some games."

Grealish will certainly be hoping he can have a bigger impact with the England U21s than he has had with Aston Villa this season.

He has spent the vast majority of the season on the sidelines after several off the field incidents saw him dropped by former manager Remi Garde.

He has failed to star again since the Frenchman left too and he will be keen to try and end the season on a positive with the national side.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch