Mixed feelings for Grealish after dramatic baptism of fire
Published 09/04/2015 | 02:30
Jack Grealish experienced a range of emotions on Tuesday night after his maiden Premier League start for Aston Villa developed into a six-goal thriller.
Grealish played 70 minutes for his relegation-threatened employers in a 3-3 draw with Villa that was packed with goalmouth action.
The 19-year-old was thrilled to get the nod from Tim Sherwood but was angered that he missed a fine chance to mark the occasion with a goal during a first half where he impressed.
"Personally for me, it's given me a massive boost," said Grealish, who indicated last month that he will remain with Ireland for his senior international career.
"It's shown that the gaffer has got that faith in me to give me my first Premier League start in such a crucial game.
"It was a tough game for me personally to go into and make my full debut," added Grealish, who became the first Irish teenager to start a top-flight game since Anthony Forde lined out for Wolves in 2011-12.
"We're a bit gutted in the dressing-room about only grabbing a point after coming in at half-time 2-1 up.
"And I could have scored myself, which I'm a bit gutted about, but Christian (Benteke) was brilliant and he really boosted the team."
Grealish is determined to become a regular fixture in Sherwood's side and received mixed reviews for his contribution. Cast in a central playmaking role, he showcased his ability on the ball although he did have a few difficult moments in possession after the interval when he was put under physical pressure.
The most important verdict at the moment is the manager's and he was heartened by the youngster's efforts.
"Jack wasn't fazed. I thought he did well," said Sherwood. "He gets on the ball, he makes things happen and he dribbles past people. He has a big future at this football club."
Meanwhile, the FAI are believed to be examining if English-born Preston striker Joe Garner is eligible to play for Ireland.
The 26-year-old has crossed the 20 goal barrier for this season with the League One outfit and a report in the London-based Irish Post newspaper says that Garner has relations living in Galway.
Garner started his career at Blackburn and was capped by England from U-16 to U-19 level. He has found his feet at Preston following unremarkable spells at Nottingham Forest and Watford.