40. Jack Grealish

Date of birth: 10th September 1995
Place of birth: Birmingham, England
Nationality: Irish
Position: Midfielder
Fee Paid: YTS

Jack Grealish is a local lad playing for the club he grew up supporting. Born in Solihull, aged just six he joined Aston Villa’s youth ranks and has been at the club ever since.

At just sixteen, Grealish took his first step towards the first team when he was on the bench for a match against Chelsea. At the time, fans and pundits alike were intrigued by the young lad from Solihull being on the match day team sheet and naturally were expecting to see more of him in the near future. However, it would be some time before fans would see Jack Grealish anywhere near the senior squad.

The next season (2012-13) saw Grealish involved in the U-19 team that eventually went on to win the NextGen Series. This led into a loan spell at League One side Notts County for the first half of the 2013-14 season. During his time at the club, supporters were very excited by his play and tenacity on the pitch. He was showing great promise and eventually netted his first senior goal on December 7th against Gillingham. Grealish’s loan was extended until the end of the season. By the end of the season, Grealish had made thirty-eight appearances and had scored five goals for the Magpies.

Following his loan spell, Grealish returned to Villa and made his debut from the bench in a match against Manchester City. That summer saw Jack jet off to Hong Kong to play in the Hong Kong Sevens, where he would finish the tournament as top scorer with six goals to help the Villans win the title.

As the 2014 season progressed, Jack Grealish signed a new four-year deal with the club and also made his first start in an FA cup match against Blackpool. April 7th 2015 marked Grealish’s first time in the senior starting XI for the club in the Premier League and it was a thriller that finished 3-3 against Queen’s Park Rangers.

Aston Villa’s FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool in April 2015 saw a special performance put in by Grealish. Calm, cool and collected on the ball, he had the run of the midfield over a much more experience (and expensive) Liverpool midfield. Much praise was heaped on the young lad by pundits and supporters. The polar opposite of this was observed in the FA Cup final against Arsenal, a game in which no-one in claret and blue was particularly good but many felt Jack Grealish was “found out”.

There is much to look forward to from the young talent that is Grealish. It’s no secret that there is plenty of pressure is on the lad’s shoulder as many want to see “one of our own” do well. One can only hope he will rise above this and turn into a Holte End hero.

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