The Aston Villa captain is truly making a mark on the Premier League.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
At the start of the season, fans of opposition sides did nothing but berate Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish’s talent – stating that he was overrated, a fish out of water.
The midfielder is now the most proficient English midfielder in the Premier League – amassing seven direct goal contributions with three goals and four assists.
Sunday evening, against a waning Manchester United, Jack Grealish finally signed his introduction onto a world stage in front of a worldwide audience and a full Old Trafford. The ball finds him on the left-hand side of the box, before he dances inside, sets himself, and curls an effort into the top right corner – and past one of the better ‘keepers in football – David De Gea.
It was a goal from nowhere. From nothing. The over-hit cross from Anwar El Ghazi looked to have killed the move, but Grealish took the game which was only in its infancy by the scruff of its neck.
The pundits turned games ago; with Alan Shearer, Martin Keown and Kevin Kilbane, amongst others, all waxing lyrical about Aston Villa’s starlet.
Each week there is a different iconic player that opposition fans state that their team has made Grealish look like – which is some kind of backhanded compliment – but showcases the impact he has on games.
Manchester United fans stated on social media that “only Manchester United can make Jack Grealish look like prime Zidane.”
Newcastle United fans stated on social media that their side “made Jack Grealish look like Iniesta.”
Arsenal fans stated on social media that “only Arsenal could make Jack Grealish look like Lionel Messi.”
That’s the key thing. It’s not only their club. It’s not a specific side making Jack Grealish look good. It’s the fact that he is that good. He did take a few games to get into the swing of things in the Premier League – but ever since, he’s not really had a bad game.
Going into the weekend, despite missing two games through injury, Jack Grealish was the second most fouled player in Europe’s top five leagues – behind Nabil Fekir – who lead by four fouls. After the Manchester United game, Jack Grealish took the top spot after being fouled eight times in yesterday’s affair. He’s also the most fouled player in the Premier League by a significant amount, with Wilfried Zaha 11 fouls behind him.
Per 90 minutes, he’s fouled 4.08 times – which places him third in Europe’s top five leagues – placing him amongst company such as Eden Hazard and Neymar.
He’s also in the top six in the Premier League for deep completions; alongside the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Sadio Mane, Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Felipe Anderson. Deep completions are completed forward passes collected a minimum of 25 yards from goal.
Visibly, and statistically, Aston Villa’s main man is a marvel. He has taken the opinion of his doubters and proved himself on the pitch.
Is he the best player to have ever played for Aston Villa in the modern-day Premier League? Probably.
Is he the best academy product to come out of Bodymoor Heath? Certainly.