Jack Grealish on target as Paul Lambert and Villa fans rave about the Irishman
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert was full of praise for Irish teen sensation Jack Grealish despite Villa's 3-1 friendly loss to Chesterfield last night.
Although born in England, Grealish has represented Ireland since he was 14 years of age and has declined the opportunity to represent England at underage level in the past.
The 18-year-old made his Villa debut when he came on in the 87th minute in a 4-0 defeat against champions Manchester City in May and Lambert now sees the midfielder as a player who will be pushing for a place in his team.
“He’s done really well, and he did really well on the tour,” said Lambert.
“(Last night) gave me a chance to see some of the young ones that you don’t get to see as much.
“Some of them did well but some of them found it tough and it shows how far they have got to go.
“Jack has more than held his own and he did well in this game.
“What I am looking for is for Jack to give me problems (in terms of team selection).
“I want this kid to go and do something. He’s never ever disgraced himself, not in America, not tonight (against Chesterfield).
“He can handle it and he is enjoying his football.
“He’s still a young kid learning the ropes and he’s got a lot of big players in front of him but you’ve got to try and get into that group.
“He’s done his chances no harm at all.”
Grealish came on for the second half against Chesterfield last night and was Villa's best player in an otherwise poor performance by Lambert's men and he made an immediate impact when he scored in the 51st minute.
Chesterfield striker, Irishman Eoin Doyle, was certainly impressed: "Jack has that demeanour about him. He plays with his socks tucked into his shin guards. He always has a yard of space, a real natural footballer who is always looking for the ball even when surrounded by players. He is the type of player that can really go and run a game."