Jack Grealish makes Aston Villa claim after recent Man City performances
Jack Grealish has said that improved confidence has led to an upturn in form at Manchester City, revealing he feels like he did when an Aston Villa player.
The 27-year-old has established himself as a regular starter for the Premier League champions in his second season at the club, after playing more of a bit-part role during his first campaign.
Grealish left Aston Villa, his boyhood club, for Manchester in a record deal reported to be worth £100m in the summer of 2021.
Asked while away on international duty with England what he put his improved performances this year down to, Grealish suggested he had rediscovered his confidence after being backed by Pep Guardiola in the club’s biggest games.
“I feel I am in the best form since I moved to City,” Grealish said. “I feel a bit like I did when I was at Aston Villa. I feel like one of the main players and it is the fittest I’ve been.
“That comes down to playing a lot of games on the bounce and playing in big games and making an impact, like scoring against Arsenal and United and getting assists at Chelsea away and Arsenal in the cup.
“I’m really confident at the moment. [Pep Guardiola] is trusting me in big games and I do feel I have repaid him, played my part, done well.”
Grealish could win his 30th cap in Thursday’s Euro 2024 qualifying opener against Italy.
The fixture in Naples will be England’s first since exiting the World Cup at the quarter-final stage after a defeat to France in Qatar.
Gareth Southgate subsequently announced his intention to stay on as manager and see out a contract that runs until December 2024.
Backing the manager who gave him his international debut, Grealish said he was “buzzing” when he heard that Southgate would be staying on and predicted another strong English showing at next year’s Euros.
“Gareth called me up to my first squad, he gave me my debut and he has given me chances to play for my country,” Grealish explained. “It’s the best thing that can happen to you as a player.
“Go and ask anyone in that changing room what they think of Gareth and they would all say the same: he is a brilliant manager and a brilliant person as well. I can’t speak highly enough of him for what he has done for me.
“We have come close so many times. The last three tournaments have been a semi-final, a final and then the quarters. I think it is obvious what we want to do and I think we are getting better and better. Players are coming through and playing with so much confidence.
“I feel like the next one really could be our one. Everyone will be in their prime. I actually feel old at the moment but when I think about it, I will only be 28 at the Euros. It’s no secret that we all want to win a tournament – and I do think it is there to be done.”
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