Jack Grealish: I won't waste my England chance, I deserve to be there

Jack Rosser
·4-min read
EA Sports
EA Sports

Jack Grealish arrived at the last England camp as a late call-up and a little starstruck. This time around, the Aston Villa captain wants to make his mark on the Three Lions.

After a flying start to the season with Dean Smith's side, capped off by Sunday's 7-2 demolition of champions Liverpool in which he scored two and laid on three, Grealish was given his first "proper" call up this month when named in Southgate's initial squad for games against Wales, Belgium and Denmark.

Grealish believes he can bring that extra touch of class or spark able to make the difference for Gareth Southgate.

"There is so much talent in and around my position in the England team at the moment that there is always a little doubt that you might not get in," Grealish told Standard Sport. "To finally get the call-up, like the proper call-up where you're in from the start, means much more to me than the last one.

"I feel comfortable there. I feel like I deserve my place. I am playing against these guys week in, week out. Sometimes you can get starstruck, training with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane. They're all human beings at the end of the day and make you feel welcome.

"This next time I'll be fine because I feel like I deserve to be there. Once you get to know the lads and you speak to them, and you're around them day to day, you realise they're all human."

The 25-year-old made his debut from the bench in the turgid 0-0 draw in Denmark last month, but showed in one burst - darting in from the left past a number of red shirts to almost win a penalty - exactly what he can offer this England side with midfield places suddenly up for grabs.

"I feel like I can definitely add to that," Grealish said, speaking ahead of the launch of FIFA 21. "I bring something different to what the other players do and, fingers crossed, I can have a chance ... If not this camp then hopefully the next one. That is what I want, I want the chance to show the manager what I can do.

"I can be that player [who can change a game]. There are people in the team that can do that, look at Ross Barkley, James Maddison... they could. I could as well.

"There is so much talent in there; [Jadon] Sancho, Sterling. Sometimes it is just tough for the England team because there is a lot of pressure and expectation but I wouldn't mind that, that is what comes being footballers and playing for the national team."

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Pressure is nothing new to Grealish. As a boyhood Villa fan and now captain, it has often been him that those in the stands, and the dressing room, look to for game-changing moments.

At international level that pressure is even greater, but having worked so hard and for long, Grealish will not let it get the better of him.

It has been a long wait since switching his international allegiance from Ireland five years ago, a decision Grealish never regretted despite years of being a spectator when it came to England. Reaching this moment has informed his decisions throughout his career.

That he, and team-mate Tyrone Mings, are able to make it into Southgate's squad while playing for Aston Villa was a huge factor in his decision to sign a new deal at Villa Park.

"it was a massive thing for me to get into the England team," said Grealish. "Staying at Villa was the best thing for me. I've had a lot of pressure. It is something that I thrive off, I enjoy,

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"I've seen a few people recently saying that Ross Barkley has come to Villa to take some of the pressure off me, but I love the pressure, I think it is a good thing to have and there is only one reason why you would have a lot of pressure on yourself.

"I always put a lot of pressure on myself to perform. Me being the captain, the local lad at Villa, there is a fair bit on me. This is all I've wanted to do my whole life."

With club and country things are on the up for Grealish, he would like to see such progress reflected in the digital world on FIFA 21.

"EA SPORTS need to sort out my FIFA rating," he said. "80 is so harsh! Only 76 pace and 61 physicality, what are they talking about?! I’m pleased to have made the 80s though, an upgrade of three on last year."

Jack Grealish was speaking ahead of the launch of EA SPORTS FIFA 21 on October 9 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and all other platforms. Whether it’s on the streets or in the stadium, FIFA 21 has more ways to play than ever before. Get 3 days early access, special FUT kits and much more if you pre-order today! Head to https://www.ea.com/games/fifa/fifa-21/buy

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