Jack Grealish is loving the comparisons to Paul Gascoigne, saying he is a big fan of the England icon and his character on and off the pitch.
The Aston Villa captain has been impressive for club and country of late, winning his fifth England cap on Wednesday night in the 4-0 win over Iceland at Wembley.
While there is plenty of competition for a place in England’s starting front three, the 25-year-old has a very good chance of playing a huge part at next summer’s European Championships thanks to his eye-catching form.
His style of play and demeanour on the field has drawn comparisons to Gascoigne, who won 57 caps for England and was integral in the runs to the semi-finals of Italia 90 and Euro 96.
Grealish is thrilled to be talked about in the same breath as the former Rangers, Tottenham and Lazio man, saying he is a huge fan of the iconic figure.
‘I thrive off those kind of comparisons. I love Gazza,’ said Grealish after the Iceland win. ‘I’ve watched his documentary on Netflix about a million times. I love his character on the pitch and off the pitch.
‘I loved the way he played football with such freedom and such joy. You hear so many people speak about him and say he was just a joy to watch – and I think that is the biggest compliment that you can have really.
‘When people say to me: “It is just a joy to watch you”, it makes me happy because that is what I want to do. I just want to entertain people.
‘But I also want to be effective on the pitch, just like Gazza was. But those comparisons I think are obviously far away yet because I have not even played at a tournament, like he did.
‘He thrived on the biggest stage and, until I do that, I think I can’t really be compared to him at the moment.’
England boss Gareth Southgate has seemed a little reluctant to select Grealish in the past, but the Villa skipper has won him over and the boss was full of praise for him after defeat to Belgium.
‘Today was a great game for us to see him in. I couldn’t speak highly enough of his performance,’ Southgate said after the 2-0 loss.
‘I thought Jack Grealish had an absolutely outstanding game. Losing Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, we lose a lot of speed. But I can’t fault the attacking play until the last chance.
‘I saw what I knew I would see from Jack, someone with the bravery to play. He took the ball in tight areas, his technique was good, we knew he would buy a lot of free-kicks. I thought he was outstanding – he should be delighted. I explained to him what we wanted to see when we brought him in in September.’
MORE : Gareth Southgate hails Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka after latest impressive display in England’s win over Iceland
MORE : Mason Mount and Declan Rice talk up their midfield partnership after England sail past Iceland
Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Source: Read Full Article