Jack Grealish is one of the latest stars to break through from the Aston Villa academy players who were crowned European NextGen Champions in 2013. Many Villa fans knew we had a star in the making and he went by the name of Jack Grealish.
Of course, as many already know, Grealish grew up as one of us, having been a Villa supporter from a very young age. It was a dream of his to play at Villa Park in front of the Holte End and that dream has been fulfilled. Hopefully, there are many more years in claret and blue to come for this young star in the making. Few have succeeded when rising from youth level at B6 but Jack Grealish is one player I am expecting to succeed in the Premier League.
There are players who have made it in the step up to the first team and Grealish is set to follow in their footsteps. Gabby Agbonlahor, Andi Weimann, Gary Cahill and Thomas Hitzlsperger are a few who have graduated from the youth system and made names for themselves at the highest level. The stage is set for Jack Grealish to deliver and the expectation of thousands lies on his young shoulders but he won’t be fazed.
Confidence is oozing out of the Irish U21 player and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be. Grealish was used as a substitute in the late stages of the 2-1 victory over Hull City and he had a real swagger about his game. He was hacked down on several occasions but was able to pick himself up and laugh it off. Not many players have this type of confidence as it is a trait you will only find in the best players across the country and further afield.
Last season, we saw the winger sent out on loan to League One side Notts County. The loan stint has worked wonders for Grealish and he looks like a player who is more than ready to tackle the Premier League and one who could add real quality to our squad.
Paul Lambert sent the youngster out on loan to toughen him up as he was not yet ready to compete in such a physical league. He returned a tougher player – we now know he can take a hit or two after witnessing his cameo appearance against Hull – but we also know is that he is capable of finding the back of the net at a high level.
Jack scored a total of five goals and assisted seven others during the loan stint. It was a tough season for County and Grealish was pivotal in helping the League One side avoid relegation. He scored some impressive goals, including a superb solo effort against Gillingham. The youngster picked the ball up and skipped past five players before unleashing an unstoppable shot which rippled the back of the net; it was at this point that I knew we had someone special at our club. It was a moment of pure class and emotion as he was seen hugging his father in the crowd following his first professional goal.
His loan spell ended and he returned back home to Aston Villa. Grealish commented on his loan experience and admitted that it was a great feeling to play regular first-team football at a high level:
“It’s been a really useful season for me getting to play first-team football and it’s made me hungrier for more. I had to grow up a lot at Notts County and playing in the League One relegation battle is much different to playing academy football.”
For such a young player, his decision making is up there with some of the best footballers around. He is a nineteen-year-old with the brain of a player in his thirties. He knows when to take a player on, when to pass and when to go for goal himself. When you need him to run down the clock and buy your team some valuable time he is also capable of doing that. He is a complete player and a wing wizard.
Talent like this does not go unnoticed and Grealish has been on the radars of clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea after scouts were reportedly tracking the youngster. However, a love for the team he supports has meant that Grealish remains a Villa player and signing a new contract with his boyhood club would be the icing on the cake.
The future is bright for this youngster and it couldn’t have come at a better time for the football club. After years of battling relegation and retaining our historical Premier League status by the skin of our teeth, we finally have something positive to talk about at B6.