Grealish flattered by comparisons to England ‘icon’ Gazza

Jack Grealish is delighted to be compared to former England hero Paul Gascoigne following his impressive performance for the Three Lions on Thursday.

Grealish made his England debut as a 76th minute substitute in the 0-0 draw against Denmark last month before being handed his first start in the 3-0 win over Wales this week.

Having been hugely instrumental in the 7-2 demolition of Liverpool last weekend, the Aston Villa captain put in an impressive performance on the international stage in the win over Ryan Giggs’ side, including setting up Dominic Calvert Lewin’s opener.

His maverick, off-the-cuff playing style has been likened to that of former England midfielder, Gazza, a comparison the 25-year-old is pleased to hear.

“I know about Gazza,” he said. “I don’t really see myself as him but I would love to be like him, the way that he played football.

“He played with such… I don’t know what the right word is – but he played football with such joy. I think everyone who watched him could see that. That is what I want to do.

“One of the biggest compliments for people to say to you is that you make them happy watching football.

“My old coaches have said that to me. I have had a nice message from one of my old coaches already. For them, when they were coaching me at nine and 10, to see me starting for England was massive for them.

“It is massive for me and my family but I am proud for my old coaches.

“I would love to get compared to Gazza. I think he is an absolute icon. Him, along with Wayne Rooney, was probably one of the greatest England players over the last 30 years.

“There have been a load but if they were the top two, Gazza would be my first.”

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