Recent impressive performances by Jack Grealish during Aston Villa’s promotion push to the Playoff finals have suggested that this annoyingly talented Birmingham born youngster might be on the radar for one or two Premier League clubs this summer?
With Tottenham Hotspur in particular long since admiring I’ve always questioned whether Grealish has the temperament to step into big six shoes, but one things is for sure, his ability is certainly not in question.
Never far from controversy it seems an age away now when I watched him for the first time whilst playing on loan for Notts County back in 2014 in a comprehensive 4-1 win over Carlisle in front of what was probably less than 5,000 fans. Then aged 18 he had chalk on his boots with the now notorious socks rolled down his ankles playing as an old fashioned winger looking like a boy with all the ability but shy in demeanor to his more experienced peers.
How things have changed as Grealish now under Dennis Smith the Aston Villa Manager has grown into a man confident in how he goes about his matchday business, a man that represents his boyhood team and one that is most proud to wear the captains arm band for his beloved home town club. This after years of underwhelming adequacy following a teenage performance in the 2015 FA Cup semi final against Liverpool that earned him instant stardom. Ever-since that magical day of Jack and his match winning performance at Wembley, Grealish had long flattered to deceive often with unwelcome off field issues hovering like a black cloud above what he actually did for Villa on the pitch, but this season, under Smith in particular he looks back to his best with that swagger and style so annoying to opponents who struggle to deal with his skill enforced with little option but to kick him & take him down.
In possession Grealish glides effortlessly with guile in a way that only a few at the top of the game do. Easy on the eye he jinks like George Best and passes like Glenn Hoddle, Former Blackpool & QPR Manager Ian Holloway only today stating that “he’s as smooth as a baileys poured over ice at Christmas” which is as good an analogy I’ve heard made of him thus far.
Grealish has a nasty side too with a bit of bite to his game and rubs players up the wrong way hence getting his fair share of kicking’s. He gets up, dusts himself down and as he did in the derby at St Andrews against Birmingham back in March, makes you pay with his talent of which he has in abundance.
It’s that temperament rather than talent however that makes me question whether he can cut it in the league above. No doubt at Villa where he is star pupil he gets the time and the patience requested to keep on improving. A big money move to a club full of superstars and the instant demands of that hefty price tag could prove too daunting to whether he delivers or not? Does Grealish have the fight to compete with the best to become the best?
The bigger question is should Villa go up will Grealish be at the centre of their plans to take the claret and blues to a promising Premier League finish in 2020? Or should the Villans fail for a second successive year at the playoff final hurdle would it see their star performer off to pastures new?
I would hope having the armband at his hometown team might persuade him to stay whatever the scenario but if Villa don’t go up they could accept a money-too-good offer to cash in on their best asset?
This summer one way or another will define the future of Jack Grealish who’ll be 24 by the time the new season gets in to its stride… The 2019/20 campaign could be the biggest yet in the career of Grealish who’s destiny to become a truly great footballer is simply down to how he conducts himself and how he performs week in week out on the pitch. Whether that be with, or without Aston Villa Football Club remains to be seen.