Awards, but no Call
This week Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish was been voted Aston Villa’s Supporters’ and Players’ Player of the Year for the 2019/20 campaign, as well as being nominated for the inaugural TAG Heur Young Player of the Season.
As a player, the real immediate acclaim Grealish perhaps seeks though is the phone call from Gareth Southgate to play for England. If you take your claret and blue glasses off for second, it’s understandable why Southgate hasn’t drafted him in just yet. Southgate has been at a lot of Villa games in person and on several of those visits Grealish hasn’t been on point in a struggling Villa team.
While the midfielder has missed out on his England call-up so far, having the Euros delayed until 2021 because of Covid-19, could work in the Villa captain’s favour nicely. The Three Lions are one of the leading contenders for the competition in the minds of the bookmakers, and it would be worth monitoring the UK’s top list of bookmakers to get the best value and bonuses before backing Southgate’s men.
While almost 70 per cent of participating Villa fans voted Grealish as their player of the season during the 2019/20 campaign, the other 30% percent were perhaps swayed by the performances of Douglas Luis, Tyrone Mings and Ezri Konsa during the restart period, who it could be argued performed better than Grealish in the season’s closing period.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Southgate will blood Grealish into the England squad for the upcoming round of UEFA Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark. They take place in the first week of September, before the Premier League season begins. Alternatively, there’s an October friendly against Wales, which would allow Southgate to give Grealish another once over in the early Premier League games first. If the Villa captain was going to get his first England cap, perhaps the smart money would be on that game?
Surely Grealish would prefer to be a Villa player when representing England?
There’s been a churn of clickbait attaching Grealish to a move to Manchester United and others for months, although doubts are starting to form even in the red tops now that Villa avoided relegation. MOMS recently broke down what we thought the likely scenario was. The club have made positive steps already in terms of improving the club in both the short and long term, indicating that it’s in the Villa’s captain’s interest to stick around for a potential claret and blue revolution.
A layoff from a concerning kidney injury and three years in the Championship perhaps has caused a little arrested development in terms of Grealish’s England ambition, but it could be argued that the time in the English second tier allowed him to grow-up quicker and fast-track in terms of taking on more responsibility – like becoming Villa captain earlier than expected.
Villa’s return to the Premier League was arguably his best season in a Villa shirt so far, adding goals to his game (10 in all competitions) and an abundance of other decent key stats. While Grealish has been the heartbeat of the team in the last three seasons, if Villa can upgrade some of the personnel around him, he should blossom further and fully live up to the hype machine that swirls around him.
Tyrone Mings has already shown his Villa teammate, an England call-up is achievable from B6, and Grealish has the creativity to add an extra dimension and make a David Platt-like difference for England come Euro 2021.