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One to watch: Aston Villa’s 22-year-old midfielder Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish

Aston Villa

One to watch: Aston Villa’s 22-year-old midfielder Jack Grealish

Introducing The Boot Room’s 2018/19 One to Watch series…

It is amazing that Jack Grealish is still only 22.

The Aston Villa midfielder has had a tumultuous career so far, marred by off-field incidents, but capped by some incredible on-field achievements in recent times.

One of those achievements was his form in the second-half of last season.

Arguably the best player in the Championship in that period, Grealish almost single-handedly lifted Villa to promotion.

He will seek to do that again this season as he will now remain at the club, despite the best efforts of Tottenham Hotspur during the summer transfer window.

Play Style

Grealish’s best attribute is his dribbling. Last season, he ranked in the top 10 in the Championship for dribbles completed per 90 minutes amongst players to play over 1,000 minutes.

Importantly, he completed them at a rate just over 70%, highlighting the efficiency in which he can advance the ball.

Last season, there seemed to be more substance to his game.

Six assists and three goals were a decent haul, which he will be expecting to improve upon again this season.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Those numbers prove better when you factor in the fact that he is constantly targeted by opposition teams.

 

This is for two reasons. Firstly, he is an excellent player that can be put off his game by being fouled, but also because he is easily wound up.

He was fouled more times per 90 minutes than any player in the Championship last season to play over 300 minutes.

Season Ahead

He will continue to mature and he will get even better this season.

The Englishman already seems to have matured greatly after an early season kidney issue in 2017 threatened his career and life and gave him a different perspective on football.

“I thought about how everything could be taken away from you in such a short space of time,” Grealish told the Mirror.

“I worked so hard to come back because I missed football. I wanted to be the best I could be. I was in the gym every day and my energy is so much better. I feel stronger, fitter.”

The 22-year-old is now as close to the peak of his powers as he has ever been.

Another season with Villa gives him an opportunity to propel himself to his peak and back into the Premier League.

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