Oddly labeled both overrated and overlooked, Jack Grealish’s career has already been interesting, to say the least. Joining Aston Villa at the age of six, Grealish quickly grew into a top prospect as a teenager with the Birmingham-based club. The midfielder even made the bench at the age of 16 during a Premier League game against Chelsea in March of 2012. Despite the boost of confidence by then manager Alex McLeish, Grealish had to wait just over two more years to make his Premier League debut with his boyhood club.
The 2014/15 season was Grealish’s proper introduction to the soccer world. He managed 17 Premier League matches and was vital in Villa’s FA Cup run. Despite the heavy defeat to Arsenal in the cup final, Grealish’s season was a success. He was named as the club’s Young Player of the Season for the 2014/15 campaign and established himself as a regular senior player at the the age of just 19.
While his career was off to an extremely bright start, Grealish also had a few disciplinary issues off of the pitch. Partying got the youngster into trouble both in 2015 and 2016. Photos showing Grealish allegedly inhaling nitrous oxide emerged in 2015 and then reports of excessive partying, including police involvement, surfaced a year later.
Maturity concerns aside, Grealish’s time on the pitch continued to increase. Although Villa were relegated to the Championship for the 2016/17 season, and the young midfielder could have left to join another Premier League club, he remained with his team. Grealish and Villa spent three years down in the second tier division.
Prior to his eventual final season in the Championship with Villa, Grealish was heavily linked with a move to a Premier League side. Both Manchester clubs were reportedly interested in the young midfielder, but Tottenham Hotspur were the closest to obtaining Grealish in 2018. Spurs bid £25 million for Villa’s star youngster, a fee that became a significant talking point by both fans and pundits.
A majority of fans took to Twitter to claim that Grealish was overrated a not worth the £25 million fee. Polls were posted on the social media site asking whether or not the player was worth the price, with overwhelmingly lopsided results. Despite most suggesting Spurs were crazy for even offering that much money for a Championship player, Villa denied the bid and were supposedly holding out for £40 million. Though the Midlands club was ridiculed for asking for such a fee, it appears as if they made right move regarding their young star.
Now 24, Grealish is considered one of the best Premier League players from outside a traditional top six club. The midfielder ranks fifth in the league in key passes, 13th in assists, 12th in dribbles, 18th in goals, and he has been fouled far more often than any player in England’s top flight. While Villa may be struggling as a team (currently in the relegation zone), Grealish has been thriving.
Creative, quick, and versatile, Grealish seems to be the total package in midfield. These attributes make Gareth Southgate’s decision to not give him an international cap seem absolutely incredible. Previously playing for the England U21s, Grealish has not yet received a call-up to the senior international squad. This, however, could, and should, be rectified for the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament this summer.
Able to essentially play four different positions, Grealish would suit practically any team. If he were to finally leave Villa, especially if they are relegated yet again, big clubs will certainly come calling for the midfielder during the summer transfer window. And the suspected fee for Grealish will most likely be at least double what Spurs bid for the player in 2018.