The emerging winger put in an encouraging performance in the 3-3 home draw with Queens Park Rangers and is now hoping to keep his place for the weekend's trip to Tottenham Hotspur.
After earning his first Premier League start in the 3-3 home draw with Queens Park Rangers, Aston Villa winger Jack Grealish has told AVTV how he hopes to keep his place in the line-up moving forward.
Grealish, 19, seemed set to for an important role in the since-departed Paul Lambert’s side after making a bright start to the season but instead spent most of the following months either on the bench or in the reserves.
Tim Sherwood’s appointment was billed as great news for the teenage winger, given the former Tottenham Hotspur manager’s noted trust in homegrown talent, but he had still made just two substitute appearances over past month prior to QPR’s visit.
The crucial clash against their relegation rivals saw Sherwood let the club’s top prospect loose, however, and, while there was some initial trepidation over whether he would be able to handle the big occasion, those fears were dispelled over the course of an impressive first-half showing.
Grealish would prove an integral part of Villa’s attack during the opening 45 minutes, troubling the QPR defence with his pace and skill, and, while he would slow after the break before being withdrawn with 20 minutes left, his overall performance was encouraging enough to leave the former trainee optimistic about his starting chances for the weekend’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur.
“Of course, that’s what I’ve been told to aim for when I go out there,” he said on pushing for a regular starting spot. “I’ve got to do the best that I can and affect the game as much as I can.
“Personally, for me, it’s given me a massive boost. It’s shown that the gaffer’s got that faith in me to give me my first Premier League start in such a crucial game.
“The fans are always a big part too and make it so much easier for me.”
Grealish could have made a bigger impact on the night too, had he not missed a golden chance to put Villa 2-1 up in the first-half, when QPR goalkeeper Rob Green produced a fantastic save to keep out his low shot.
Much to his relief, though, Christian Benteke would go on to add both his and the team’s second in the 33rd-minute, before completing his hat-trick with a sublime free-kick equaliser seven minutes from the end to keep his side three points above the relegation zone.
“It was a tough game for me personally to go into and make my full debut,” added Grealish. “We’re a bit gutted in the dressing room about only grabbing a point after coming in at half-time 2-1 up.
“But, at the end of the day, we’ve just got to look at it as a positive and a point gained going into Saturday’s game versus Tottenham.
“I could have scored myself, which I’m a bit gutted about, but Christian was brilliant tonight and he really boosted the team.
“We see that every day on the training ground. We know what Christian’s capable of.”