Euro 2020: Ambitious Grealish wants to emulate Gascoigne, Rooney for England

By Sports Desk June 23, 2021

Jack Grealish harbours ambitions of following in the footsteps of Paul Gascoigne and Wayne Rooney by displaying his talent on an international stage after impressing in England's win over the Czech Republic.

The Aston Villa attacking midfielder was afforded his opportunity to start in the Three Lions' final Euro 2020 Group D fixture, having only appeared as a substitute against Scotland in their opening two matches.

Fans and pundits alike had been clamouring for Grealish to be given a chance and it was the 25-year-old who provided the delicate chipped cross for Raheem Sterling to nod in the only goal in a 1-0 win that secured top spot in the pool.

As well as his assist, Grealish completed 83.3 per cent of his passes in the opposition half, won 62.5 per cent of his duels and drew three fouls for his team – the latter a trait many suggest should see him start more regularly due to England's perceived strength at set-pieces.

Grealish's charisma off the pitch as well as his courageous attacking play on it have drawn comparisons to some of England's stars of the past such as Gascoigne and Rooney, and the man himself is eager to be revered by fans for his displays at the tournament.

"I have spoken about how big these tournaments can be in players' careers," Grealish said in quotes reported by Sky Sports.

"If you look back and think of Gazza at Italia 90, that is where he first made a… well he was obviously still well known before, but I think everyone remembers him for that tournament especially.

"You look at Wayne Rooney in Euro 2004 – I think that was where he set his marker to say I am going to be one of the best in the world.

"I am hoping to follow in their footsteps and hopefully I can do that if I get more chances in this tournament."

 

Grealish made his England bow back in September and has nine caps to his name but has yet to cement his place in Gareth Southgate's starting XI.

The external noise for Grealish to be given a more prominent role only increased after a drab goalless draw against Scotland, but he insists there was no added pressure on his shoulders to perform.

"I don't think it is pressure. I love playing football. That is what I am paid to do. That is what I have been born to do," he added.

"I just play football every day of my life. When I go out there and play it is no pressure on me whatsoever. I go out there and just enjoy myself like I always do.

"I felt like I had a good performance good but I still maybe felt like in the second half I could have got on the ball a little more and probably tried to dictate the game a little more from an England point of view."

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