The 20-year-old midfielder's first start for Gareth Southgate's side saw him score twice as they recorded a 7-1 win in their second game of the Toulon Tournament.
Jack Grealish enjoyed a memorable full debut for England Under-21s on Monday night, scoring twice as Gareth Southgate’s side continued their winning start to the Toulon Tournament with a 7-1 thrashing of Guinea.
The Aston Villa playmaker earned his first cap for the Young Lions in last Thursday’s 1-0 win over Portugal, coming off the bench for the final 18 minutes, but he was handed a start for their second Group B game and wasted little time in making his impact felt.
Guinea raced out to a shock lead on the evening when Thierno Diallo fired them in front after just 48 seconds, but England equalised only seven minutes later when Grealish volleyed home a cross from Fulham striker Cauley Woodrow.
James Ward-Prowse eventually put England ahead in the 30th-minute from the penalty spot following a handball in the box, before Nathan Redmond made it 3-1 soon after with a thunderous long-range effort.
Grealish, who represented the Republic of Ireland from Under-15 to Under-21 level before switch his international allegiances last September, then grabbed his second goal on the stroke of half-time, dribbling past two defenders into the area before firing a low shot into the bottom corner.
Woodrow helped create the fifth five minutes after the break, striking a shot that ricocheted off Mohamed Toure and into the net for an own goal, before the former Luton Town man got on the scoresheet himself just before the hour after latching onto a fine pass from Grealish and slotting the ball through the keeper’s legs.
He later completed the rout with his second 17 minutes from the end, putting England on top of Group B on goal difference ahead of Wednesday's clash with second-placed Paraguay and Friday's match against Japan.
"I think today we had four full debuts in Angus Gunn, Jack Grealish, Matty Grimes and Rob Holding," manager Southgate told thefa.com after the win. “So it was a big moment for all of them and I wanted players to play in a game that was important to our qualification.
"We needed a win tonight to give ourselves a chance of getting into the final and two games in, everyone has started now so that’s good for camaraderie of the group, which is strong anyway.”
For Grealish, the Toulon Tournament seems to have helped give him a new lease of life following a testing season with Villa.
The Solihull native was expected to take another big step forward this past term after bursting onto the scene during the 2014-15 run-in, but he never seemed to get going once a calf strain suffering during preseason hampered his start to the campaign.
Blighted by further injuries and off-field problems, the 20-year-old academy product ultimately made just 11 starts in 21 total appearances for the relegated club, scoring once, as his flourishing reputation took a considerable hit.
He now faces a crucial season ahead in the second tier as Villa bid to make an immediate return to the Premier League, but judging from the reaction on Twitter to his England performance, most fans seem confident that the homegrown starlet will rise to the challenge.
hope grealish can keep up the form into next season... will be a vital part of the promotion push #avfc— PMaxi Lopez (@PaulMaxwell6) May 23, 2016
avfc_mitch) May 23, 2016
Grealish good enough for England, but not good enough for an #avfc side that won 3 games in 38. The kind of nonsense that got us relegated.— Villa Views (@ViewsVilla) May 23, 2016
Grealish playing in the CAM position. Scored two goals and creating chances..now I wonder why he never got a better chance last season #avfc— AVFC Views/Opinions (@OpinionsAvfc) May 23, 2016
Jack Grealish has been playing with absolute buffoons for his whole senior career. Great talent and we should build a team round him #avfc— Adam Canning (@ACanning10) May 23, 2016
Whoever is the manager, please stick Grealish behind the strikers and build the team around him! #avfc— Andy (@AndyVilla80) May 23, 2016