Jack Grealish will be an Aston Villa player for the foreseeable future – but what makes him such a special talent?
Words by Sam Al-Ani (@Samalani1071)
Transfer deadline day came and went on Thursday and Villa fans got the news that we were been waiting for all summer; fan-favourite Jack Grealish will be staying at Villa for another half-a-season at least.
This came after Villa’s new owners responded to Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy and his attempts to exploit Villa’s financial struggles earlier on in the summer with a simple message: Jack Grealish is NOT for sale.
As satisfying as Daniel Levy getting a taste of his own medicine is, the thing Villa fans should be most grateful for is that we get to watch a player with true quality pull on the shirt and hopefully continue to run games as he did for the majority of last season.
As one of the most talented players to don the claret and blue in recent years, Jack Grealish doesn’t have many critics but there are those who do suggest that he is overrated and often quote his return of 3 goals from 30 appearances. However, advocates of Jack know that there is so much more to his game which make him the most exciting player in the Championship. In order to gauge just how capable he is we have decided to evaluate different areas of his game which aren’t often supported by obvious stats:
Running with the ball:
The trait that he is probably most known for is his ability to dribble around players as if they’re not even there. Although I wouldn’t even dare to compare Grealish to Messi, he is in an exclusive club of players like Messi, Neymar and more down to earth Zaha who can breeze past opponents using a great centre of balance and positioning his body in front of the ball making him hard to dispossess.
The thing that makes Jack’s dribbling so impressive is that it always ends with either a pass that gets Villa’s attack going or drawing a foul, making him one of the most fouled players in any league.
Jack Grealish’s ability with the ball at his feet would make him one of the top dribblers in any league and is one of the traits that makes him so sought after.
Fitting into the narrative that Jack is rarely wasteful with the ball, he boasts one of the best key passes numbers in the league, along with a competitive pass completion rate. Although he only got 6 assists last season, you have to take two things into consideration; firstly, until this season Jack has not been on any type of set piece duty. Secondly, and probably more importantly, Jack’s job is to feed the ball out to the wings, which is demonstrated by the fact that players with the highest number of assists last season were Robert Snodgrass and Albert Adomah.
Not one of Jack’s better-known traits for those who do not watch him very often, but he has built up a reputation over the last year for dropping deep and winning the ball only to start the attack himself from the back.
This addition to his game has lead to a few questions over whether he is the conventional number 10 or more a number 8. This doesn’t detract from the rest of his game though, it just makes him a more accomplished player.
Although this is a very new addition to his game, Jack already has one assist in two games this season after perfectly delivering a corner that Tommy Elphick buried. Another part of his game that Jack will be able to exploit, even with the astute left foot of McGinn in the team.
Room for improvement:
This being said, Jack is only 22 years old so he has plenty of time and space to improve and there is no doubt in my mind he is a future England international that has the ability and natural talent to reach the highest echelons of the game. I would especially love to see Grealish be more brave in front of goal, we all know how capable he is.
For those who question whether Jack would have succeeded at Spurs the answer is simply that under the stewardship of Pochetinho and playing next
to players with the ability of Kane, Eriksen and Alli, Jack would have forced his way into the team and shone at a club that fits his ability as a player.
The good news for us however, is that he is still here and appears to be dedicated to the cause.