Can Grealish become a superstar for Villa and England?
Jack Grealish is developing into one of the leading midfielders in the Premier League and his recent performances for Aston Villa, as well as England, suggest that the sky is the limit for his potential.
The 25-year-old has enjoyed a great start to the campaign, leading Villa’s charge into the top six of the top flight. Due to the quality of his displays, along with the rest of Dean Smith’s squad, there is real hope that the Midlands outfit could compete for a European spot. They’re backed at 7/1 in the Premier League odds to place in the top six, although, given the unpredictable nature of the league this season, there’s no reason why they could not surge towards the Champions League spots.
Grealish will be their driving force from the middle of the park. He set the tone in the opening game of the season with a fine strike against Fulham in his side’s 3-0 triumph at Craven Cottage. The midfielder then put forward the best performance of his career to date in Villa’s dominant 7-2 triumph over Liverpool that sent shockwaves across the world. Grealish was the architect of the Reds’ downfall, scoring twice and providing three assists. He and his teammates could well have recorded double figures on the night, such was the quality of their approach play in the final third.
In 36 matches last season, Grealish scored eight goals. After only seven matches to date this term, Grealish has notched four and five assists in seven matches. It’s proving that he is becoming more influential and accustomed to life in the Premier League. Creative players of his ilk are rare in the top flight - especially English ones.
Gareth Southgate had to be convinced of his ability - ignoring the 25-year-old for his squads last season before the Villa midfielder finally earned the call in August. He made his debut against Denmark and has since earned his competitive bow against Belgium in England’s Nations League defeat.
Despite the loss, Grealish performed brilliantly in the heart of the Three Lions’ midfield. In England’s 2018 World Cup defeat to Croatia, they lacked a dynamic force in the middle of the park. In that contest, Croatia took the game away from Southgate’s men, who were starved of possession in the second half before succumbing in extra time.
Boasting a player that is not afraid to take control of the ball and attempt to drive his team forward could make all the difference in the European Championships. England have not had a creative player of that calibre in a long time, and finding a role for Grealish in the team might allow Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling to fire the Three Lions to the major crown next summer.
Grealish is already highlighting his quality in the Premier League. Ollie Watkins has been the main beneficiary, scoring six goals in the early stages of the campaign. Expect that theme to continue throughout the rest of the season. Grealish’s continued development could make or break success for both Villa and England in the near future. He has all the attributes to become a superstar, but he now must deliver on a consistent basis.