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Jack Grealish has what some top Premier League players don't, says Jamie Carragher
Last Updated: 27/11/19 7:41am
Jamie Carragher laid out why Jack Grealish has qualities even Liverpool and Man City attacking players don't on Monday Night Football.
Grealish was named man of the match in Aston VIlla's 2-0 win over Newcastle after returning from a month-long injury, creating more chances (six) than anyone else on the pitch.
After the game, Carragher told Monday Night Football what made the Aston Villa captain, who was deployed in a fairly unusual position on the left of a front three, different from so many other Premier League attacking players.
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"Very few players have got that swagger, " he said. "It feels like when he gets the ball, the game in some ways stops and people are waiting to see what he's going to do. Defenders are scared to engage him and go to him, they're waiting for a clever pass, a body movement.
"He's different from a lot of the top players, he mentioned the Liverpool front three and playing in that position, but you think about City's and Liverpool's front three, it's a lot about pace and getting in behind, but some of those players at those top clubs don't have what he's got. Actually running the game.
"It's not a case of when the ball comes to him will he keep it, it's what clever pass is he going to play? Sometimes I feel like the opposition don't want to take the ball off him, just make sure he plays it simple.
"He's got class. I remember growing up, watching football with my dad. He would say the good players always had time on the ball. And every time I look at him, it looks like he's got an extra half a second than anyone else."
Grealish for England?
With places likely up for grabs in England's midfield ahead of next summer's Euro 2020 finals, Grealish is yet to earn his first senior call-up, having chosen England over Ireland in 2015, but has impressed for Villa during his first 11 games of the season.
Neville said that form could give the 24-year-old a shout of a look-in for Gareth Southgate's squad, but that competition could stand in his way.
A great night for @JackGrealish1 as he ⭐️’s for @AVFCOfficial— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 25, 2019
5️⃣ attempts at goal
1️⃣2️⃣touches in the opposition box
7️⃣passes into the final third
5️⃣ fouls won
All match highs 🔝👏 pic.twitter.com/vK5RUuZf0J
"He just has to do it consistently," he said. "England have got a lot of very good players. You think about what James Maddison is doing at Leicester at the moment, playing at a high level.
"Grealish has got to do that week in, week out and he's made a good start after coming back from injury.
"I was impressed with him. He wanted the ball all the time. He didn't get quite the output he'd like because he'd want a goal and an assist and all the things that'd go with it, but he ran the game. He'll be happy with his performance and so will Dean Smith."
Where to play Villa's captain?
Grealish admitted he would prefer to be deployed as a "number eight" speaking to Sky Sports after full-time, but said he was happy playing wherever asked.
Villa boss Dean Smith added: "He's been productive when he's played higher up the pitch for us, he draws fouls from people. People don't want to tackle him and he does it a lot in training as well.
"There's times when I will play him as an eight, he makes lung-busting runs from there, him and John McGinn complement each other really well. I think Jack's got a really good relationship with Connor Hourihane, so when he does have a drift and Connor just drops into that little hole behind where he's left."