Jack Grealish does not need to leave Aston Villa for Manchester United in order to fulfil his potential, Emile Heskey says in an exclusive interview with HITC.
Not so long ago, the United faithful were daring to dream that Ed Woodward could, in fact, secure the signatures of two potentially generation-defining Englishmen.
It’s fair to say the world has changed a bit since February.
But while the Jadon Sancho saga continues to rumble on with barely a glint of light at the end of a tunnel longer than Totley, Grealish does appear to have slammed the breaks on any speculation about his own future for the time being.
The homegrown hero of Holte End put pen to paper on a brand new five-year contract worth £135,000-a-week last month – just rewards for scoring the goal that kept his boyhood club in the Premier League on the final day of last season (Mail).
It did not escape the attention that either, just a few hours before Grealish inspired the already-iconic 7-2 shellacking of Liverpool last time out, a rudderless United were humiliated on their own hallowed Old Trafford turf by Tottenham Hotspur.
And while those controversial omissions from the England XI during the clashes with Belgium and Denmark might once again raise concerns about supposed ‘big club bias’ holding back his international career, Heskey is confident that Grealish can still thrive in claret and blue.
“I don’t think he needs to make a move to grow at international level. Gareth (Southgate) is showing that as long as you’re showcasing (that ability) within your club, then he’s fine with that,” the former Villa and England striker says, referring to the presence of Conor Coady, James Ward-Prowse and co in recent Three Lions teams.
“It’s more for Jack himself, to showcase whether he can do it at the highest level.
“Can he do that with the better players? I don’t think it’s a case of he needs to move to cement his England place, I think Gareth understands that.
Man United appear to have moved away from the Grealish track in recent times anyway, signing Donny Van de Beek from Ajax to provide competition for Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in one of those dual number eight roles under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
And, in Heskey’s eyes, why would you give up your talismanic status at Villa to risk twiddling your thumbs on the Old Trafford bench?
“(United) keep buying midfielders. They keep packing that midfield with the same players. Are you just going to be a number in that midfield? Or go to a club where you can see the progression?”