Jack Grealish Profile
|Born||Sep 10, 1995|
Known for his dazzling skills, the flamboyant midfielder became a football sensation playing for boyhood club Aston Villa. Now at Manchester City he is on the hunt for more silverware.
Jack Grealish is a midfielder who plays for Manchester City and represents the England national team.
Known for his silky skills on the ball, Grealish can play as a winger, a playmaker, or just behind the striker as a No.10. His fearless approach on the pitch has often been compared to Paul Gascoigne.
Grealish first joined Aston Villa's academy at the age of six and at 15, he was taken out of school by the club and privately educated as he continued to learn his craft as a football player.
Grealish had a loan spell at Notts County in 2013/14, playing 39 games with a return of five goals in all competitions. The Birmingham-born player represented the Republic of Ireland up until the Under-21s before pledging his allegiance to England.
He moved to Manchester City in August 2021 in a Â£100million deal. But despite winning his a Premier League winners' medal in his first season, he failed to live up to the huge price tag.
Early years at Aston Villa
Grealish has certainly lived up to those expectations since making his debut for Villa in 2013/14. His first appearance for the club was coming off the bench to replace Ryan Bertrand in the 88th minute during their 4-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Premier League.
Grealish - who was part of the Under-19s NXTGEN triumph in 2012/13 - was loaned out to Notts County for the majority of the 2013/14 season to get game time in League One
He scored his first goal while at County against Gillingham in December, running past three players in the process before placing the ball in the top corner. It was regarded as one of the best goals of the League One season.
Breakthrough at Villa Park
Grealish would have to wait until 2015 for his first start in a Villa jersey, playing 75 minutes of a 1-0 victory over Blackpool in the third round of the FA Cup. A notable performance against Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League saw Tim Sherwood place his faith in the teenager for their FA Cup semi-final encounter with Liverpool.
Grealish would steal the limelight from Steven Gerrard in his final domestic cup game in England by producing a standout performance to fire Aston Villa into the final. Grealish provided the assist for Fabian Delph as Villa went on to win the tie 2-1, with Christian Benteke scoring the other goal. Despite playing the full 90 minutes in the final, Grealish and Villa lost 4-0 to Arsenal.
The following season, Grealish was unable to prevent Villa from being relegated to the second tier of English soccer for the first time since 1987. Grealish played 16 games, all of which ended in defeat - a Premier League record.
Villa returned to the Premier League after three seasons in the EFL Championship. During these years, the club was under the microscope, having been taken over by Chinese businessman Dr Tony Xia.
Steve Bruce replaced Roberto Di Matteo in their first season in the second flight and the fortunes of the club improved dramatically in their second Championship season. However, they felt short of automatic promotion and lost the EFL play-off final to Fulham, denying them a return to the Premier League.
This had a dramatic impact on the club, especially Xia, who did not have the funds to continue running Villa, with millions of pounds owed to HMRC. It is believed Villa were hours from folding before billionaire duo Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens - the co-owner of NBA's Milwaukee Bucks - stepped in to save the club by taking over in the summer of 2018 for $70million.
Sawiris and Edens continued to back Bruce by giving him money to sign key players such as Conor Hourihane, Henri Lansbury, John McGinn and loanees Yannick Bolasie and Tammy Abraham of Chelsea.
The new owners also retained the services of Grealish, who had initially started negotiations with Tottenham Hotspur while the club was in freefall prior to the takeover.
Becoming a key player
After sustaining several injuries, Grealish returned to the first team under new management after a poor start saw Bruce sacked from his position as manager. Dean Smith replaced him, with Chelsea legend John Terry joining him as his assistant.
Grealish produced some of his best performances yet as a Villa player under Smith, inspiring them to 10 consecutive wins in the Championship - a record number of victories in the league, which included a 1-0 success over arch-rivals Birmingham City.
In that game, Grealish was assaulted by a Birmingham fan who ran onto the pitch and punched him in the back of the head. Grealish would go on to score the winner and afterwards admitted the attack had inspired him to score.
Villa overcame West Bromwich Albion in a penalty shootout and Derby County in the final of the play-offs to secure their promotion back to the Premier League. Grealish ended the season with six goals in 31 league games.
Taking Premier League by storm
Having spent $150million during the summer transfer window, Villa struggled for consistency on their return to the top flight despite match-winning performances from Grealish.
Following long-term injuries to McGinn and Brazil's Wesley, as well as Tyrone Mings, who struggled to replicate the form that had seen him earn a call-up to the England national side, Villa's inability to keep clean sheets saw them flirt with relegation for most of the season.
However, Villa would produce an unlikely comeback once soccer had returned from its enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Midlands side securing their Premier League status on the final day of the season.
Grealish scored to earn Villa a draw against West Ham United and this was enough to keep them in the top flight. It was the first time a team in the relegation zone had beaten the drop despite having been seven points adrift with four fixtures remaining.
Grealish earned the plaudits for his performances, with stats backing up those claims. Grealish had been fouled 168 times during the season, the most fouls won by a single player in the Premier League.
He ended the campaign with 10 goals in all competitions and got voted Player of the Season by the club and fans.
Moving to Manchester City
In August 2021, Grealish moved to Manchester City in a £100million deal, a British transfer record. The 25-year-old adopred the No.10 shirt vacated by Sergio Aguero. He signed a six-year contract.
But while huge expectations were placed on Grealish's shoulders after the move, the 26-year-old endured a frustrating first season at the Etihad.
Despite once again dominating the Premier League, City fell short in all other cup competitions, including another failed Champions League campaign.
In the league, Grealish made just 26 appearances under Pep Guardiola, scoring just three goals and registering three assists.
England national team
After a strong start to the 2020/21 season, Grealish earned himself his first international call-up for England.
He made his England debut coming off the bench against Denmark in the 78th minute of a UEFA Nations League fixture. The game ended 0-0.
Grealish has since gone on to become a regular in Gareth Southgate's squad, although mainly making apperances off the bench.
Grealish was called up into England's Euro 2020 squad and has featured in a number of games. He started in England's 1-0 win against the Czech Republic and came onto the field during the goalless draw against Scotland in the group stage. He was also a playing substitute against Germany and Denmark, coming off after coming on in the latter match.
Grealish got on the pitch in the final against Italy too, although he was unable to conjure up a winner for the Three Lions and prevent a penalty shootout.
In the shootout itself, England lost and Grealish did not take a penalty. That drew criticism from the media, but Grealish later explained that he volunteered to take a kick and wanted too, but boss Gareth Southgate made the decision to go with other players instead.
Grealish scored his first goal for England in a World Cup qualifier against Andorra in October 2021. His second goal came in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, scoring the final goal in the 6-2 drubbing of Iran in the group stages.
Grealish has Irish heritage, with his grandfather from Gort, County Galway, and his grandmother from Sneem, County Kerry. His great grandfather, Billy Garraty, also played for Aston Villa and won the FA Cup in 1905.
After emerging onto the stage as one of England's most promising players, Grealish was pictured intoxicated in 2015 while on holiday in Tenerife. The photo showed him lying in the middle of the road.
The club investigated the incident internally and revealed the matter had been dealt with. It came after Grealish was pictured next to friends inhaling nitrous oxide - a legal high known as laughing gas - six months previously, something he denied taking himself.
In 2020, Grealish crashed his $100k Range Rover into three parked cars in Solihull, England. It came hours after he released a video on social media urging fans to remain at home after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown to slow the surge in coronavirus infections across England.
Grealish was pictured wearing one sandal and a slipper on his feet as he addressed pedestrians on the street. The Englishman was charged with two offences for his reckless driving and got fined by Villa.
To rectify his mistakes, Grealish raised money for the NHS and offered a sincere apology for his conduct. It is believed he sold the Aston Villa jersey he wore when he got punched against Birmingham City for more than $60,000 as well as donating $200,000 to local hospitals.
According to Goal, Grealish is worth between $1-2 million although this is expected to rise after representing England and signing a new five-year-deal at Villa worth $130,000 per week in the summer of 2020. The contract will see him earn $5-6 million per annum. Grealish also has endorsements with Nike and EA Sports.
Outside of soccer, Grealish is involved in plenty of charity projects and participates in the Aston Villa Foundation's campaigns. He is an ambassador of Saving Lives - a charity which tries to combat the infection of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Grealish has also helped to raise awareness for blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia.