Ian Wright gushes about Aston Villa's Jack Grealish, makes comparison to Paul Gascoigne

Jack Grealish

The 19-year-old's temperament on the pitch reminds the Arsenal legend of how ex-England teammate Gazza used to play the game.

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has been more than impressed with what he has seen from Aston Villa's Jack Grealish in recent weeks, having compared the teenager's approach to the game to that of former England teammate Paul Gascoigne.

Wright was speaking on BBC 606 after witnessing Grealish inspire Villa to a crucial 1-0 victory over West Ham United on Saturday afternoon, when the 19-year-old attacker set up Tom Cleverley’s first-half winner and earned the team’s man of the match award.

The Solihull-native has proved a revelation since Tim Sherwood brought him into the line-up last month, looking like a Premier League veteran across six consecutive starts, in which he has helped his childhood club edge towards top-flight survival and make the FA Cup final.

Wright has been delighted to see the Villa prospect reward his manager’s faith in him in such impressive fashion after struggling to break into former boss Paul Lambert’s plans, and also reserved particular praise for how he conducts himself on the pitch.

Gushing over how Grealish seems to play the game “with a smile on his face”, the former striker was even moved to bring up comparisons to England legend Gascoigne, declaring: “Gazza had that same kind of temperament. He just goes and plays because he loves playing and it’s brilliant to see.

“Some of the stuff Grealish’s doing – his one-touch passing, his long-range passing, the pace that he’s got, the fact that he can pick someone out when he gets in the box with composure – it’s all fantastic.”

However, Wright also stressed that it is still too soon to be anointing Grealish as the “next big thing”, despite noting the similarities with Gascoigne, although he did add that the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international has the perfect manager in Sherwood to help him fulfil his potential.

“Tim’s breathed that life into him and given him that confidence,” he continued. “Now what we want is for everyone to calm down a bit and see how he goes through the summer and into next season with Tim at the helm from the start.

“Hopefully he’ll kick on and keep this up – I can’t see why he wouldn’t.

“The thing with him as well is that it looks to me like he isn’t bothered by the calibre of player he’s playing against. He’ll just go and play his own game, and that is unbelievable.”

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