Although most within the English footballing community rather lazily expected Liverpool to cruise past Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi-final and face Arsenal at the final stage, such a fairy-tale ending just wasn’t successfully earned by Steven Gerrard and co. on the day.
The Reds were simply torn apart – both out on the pitch in terms of effort and on the side-lines when it came to their manager’s ill-fated tactics. Brendan Rodgers seemed somewhat lost out there as he tried to deal with Villa’s surprisingly ambitious strike-force.
Alongside the likes of Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph though, there was one man who ultimately proved too dangerous for Liverpool to handle – and that was Aston Villa’s rapidly rising teenage sensation, Jack Grealish.
The 19-year-old made the Reds look so ordinary it really was a joy to behold for all those who took the time to watch the match, and eventually see Liverpool fall victim to their overconfidence and seeming lack of preparation.
In light of such a positive turn of events for the youngster then, is it already safe to say that Jack Grealish has what it takes to become the next big Three Lion’s star? The indications certainly look promising to say the least…
Most young up and coming English players invariably see much of the hype surrounding their name based on the fact that they have a quick turn of pace, a few tricks in their bag, and a desire to take on shots from some pretty ambitious angles. This however is not the case with Jack Grealish.
He is simply a great deal more than that. The 19-year-old Villa star seemingly has a brain on him that expresses a certain kind of intelligence that is scarcely replicated amongst his counterparts. The no. 40 can pick out his teammates from all across the pitch, he displays some truly impressive composure when given space on the ball – and as his recent display against Brendan Rodgers’ hapless Liverpool side somewhat proved – Grealish is able to turn out match winning performances when enough faith is placed in him.
Tim Sherwood therefore deserves great praise for giving his young creative midfielder the chance he deserves, even if Paul Lambert also played some role in the player’s development. Aston Villa look a different side to the team that couldn’t muster a goal in the first half of the campaign with Grealish on board, and the future at Villa Park certainly looks a great deal brighter with the confidently shin-pad-less youngster contributing to the team.
If Roy Hodgson fails to involve the Premier League’s new star within his England national set up sooner or later, it really would have to go down as a great shame. The former Fulham boss has a reputation of only picking his squad from the league’s more high profile clubs – yet as the chance to represent the Republic of Ireland also lays on the table for Jack Grealish – maybe the England bosses should make sure the Aston Villa star quickly begins playing for the Three Lions before it’s too late.
With Grealish contributing to England duties on a regular basis, the national side would be well on its way to achieving the image change it so desperately needs. The 19-year-old is just the kind of player the national team require right now, but as the likes of Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling will likely be prioritised in the attacking midfield positions for Hodgson throughout Euro 2016, maybe the Villa man won’t receive as much time out on the pitch for England as he deserves.
As it remains very early days for the no. 40 however – with several other young English stars given the same amount of hype, and subsequently failing as a result of being so heavily over-rated – Jack Grealish still has a long way to go in proving himself consistently within the ever testing realms of Premier League football.
The signs nonetheless look very exciting indeed.