Friday 20 April 2018

Jack Grealish is not just about the icing on the cake - Tim Sherwood

Seamus Coleman and Jack Grealish compete for the ball yesterday
Seamus Coleman and Jack Grealish compete for the ball yesterday

John Fallon

Jack Grealish has been hailed by his Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood as a player of substance and not just style.

The Ireland U-21 attacker – whose long-term international future is the subject of much speculation due to renewed interest from England – started his fifth game in just 25 days on Saturday when Villa beat Everton 3-2.

While Grealish’s wondrous, attacking flair has been touted as the distinctive aspect of his repertoire, Sherwood has pinpointed the defensive side of the 19-year-old as equally important in his arrival as one of the Premier League’s brightest young talents.

“It is not all about icing on the cake with Jack,” said the manager who has shown his faith in the teen since taking over from Paul Lambert in February.

“Jack puts in a shift as well. He affects the game and gets himself back there.”

Despite Grealish’s intensive run in the first-team, which included the FA Cup semi-final victory over Liverpool a fortnight ago, Sherwood has no plans to rest the Birmingham-born star during the remaining five games of the season.

“You are talking about a boy who is having his first taste of Premier League football and he has been excellent," said Sherwood.

“Someone was asking me at the press conference the other day does he need a breather?  When he doesn’t play well, people will say he needs a breather.

“Well, there are experienced players who don’t play well all the time.”

Meanwhile, the English Football Association coach spurned by Grealish for Ireland five years ago insists they haven’t given up on attracting him into their senior fold.

Grealish, through his father and agent Kevin, informed England U-17 manager John Peacock of his intention to remain with Ireland but he since hasn't ruled out switching allegiance.

“We were well aware of Jack Grealish’s talent at 14,’’ Peacock told the Telegraph.

“We wanted to bring him into the set-up here with England but they decided to go to Ireland. That’s his choice. They’re not firmly entrenched because they can have that one move.

"There’s a good young player, given the chance (by Villa), and now relishing it.”

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport