Grealish: I Had To Go With My Heart
When Jack Grealish came through the Aston Villa ranks, I am sure he would have never thought that both England & Ireland would want his services in the future. This was a just a lad, who was born in Solihul who would become one of the hottest talents in the Premier League. At the tender age of 16 he was a unused substitute in the Premier League against Chelsea in March 2012. Grealish was however part of the club's under-19 team that won the 2012/13 NextGen series.
In 2013, he went out on loan to Notts County and was one of the there star performers hitting 5 goals and seven assists in 38 appearances. At the end of his loan with Notts County, Grealish returned to Aston Villa and made his debut on 7 May 2014, coming on as an 87th-minute substitute for Ryan Bertrand in a 4–0 away defeat to Manchester City in the Premier League.
In May 2014, Grealish played in the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens, he finished as top scorer with six goals as Villa won the Shield title. On 16 August, Grealish made his second appearance for Villa coming on as a 71st-minute substitute in a 1–0 league win against Stoke City. With his contract due to expire in the summer of 2015, he was offered a new four-year deal by the club in September 2014. On 14 October 2014, Grealish signed a new 4 year contract with Aston Villa.
Grealish plays as a winger or attacking midfielder with incredibly quick skill and footwork. Bryan Jones, Aston Villa's former academy director, likened his playing style to that of Nottingham Forest legend John Robertson, citing his "ability to just ghost past people".
Conversely, as a consequence of his nimble movement, Grealish has notably been on the receiving end of heavier, more physical challenges from opposing players. Shaun Derry, his former manager at Notts County, highlighted this following fixtures against Sheffield United and Stevenage in early 2014 and called for more official protection. In a 2014 match for Aston Villa against Hull City at Villa Park, a number of fouls committed against Grealish resulted in three Hull players receiving yellow cards within just a 15-minute period.
Grealish has also appeared to not wear shin pads whilst playing. However, it was later revealed that he opts to wear child-sized alternatives to maintain his ability to control the ball effectively. He had an amazing season last season, where both England and Ireland were after him to play for them.
It was a long hard decision but I spoke to my family and they advised that I would get better playing time if I went with Ireland but had a great chance to win something with England, however I decided to plump for Ireland. They are another upcoming nation and the manager and the football association wanted me more so I am happy to announce that I will be representing Ireland.
It is understood that Jack Grealish will make his debut for Ireland against Georgia on Friday 4th November.