Trevor Sinclair has told talkSPORT that Jack Grealish is playing with even more confidence for England after leaving Aston Villa for Manchester City in a British-record transfer.
The midfielder left his boyhood club for the Citizens in a £100m deal in August, and penned a six-year contract. Grealish now earns north of £300k-a-week at the Etihad Stadium and has also started all three available Premier League fixtures under Pep Guardiola to date.
He scored his maiden goal against Norwich and contributed a first assist against Arsenal in two 5-0 demolitions. Grealish continued his creative streak for England, by assisting Declan Rice during the World Cup qualifier with Hungary on Thursday.
Sinclair watched England’s 4-0 win and noticed Grealish was playing with more confidence since leaving Aston Villa for Manchester City. The Puskas Arena affair marked his 13th-cap and first since moving away from the Villans last month.
“As I watched him more and more, it was the tiny bits of detail – the first touch, how he kills the ball, whatever scenario he’s in, and then that weight of pass, so his teammate isn’t trying to fight for the ball with the defender – [that caught my attention],” Sinclair said.
“He’s brought it all together and now, on the international stage, he looks confident. Before, he looked like: ‘I’m in here, but I’m still fighting for my position’. Now, he looks like he’s comfortable in the team.
“That’s the difference between, without being disrespectful, playing for Aston Villa, where he’s one of not many [top-draw] players in the squad, and playing for Manchester City, where everyone in the squad is an international [for their countries].”
Is Grealish playing with more confidence for England since leaving Aston Villa?
Along with being Grealish’s 13th-cap, Thursday’s clash was the Manchester City winger and Aston Villa product’s third competitive England start. The 25-year-old repaid Gareth Southgate’s trust with a lively display, rarely shying from threatening Hungary’s defence.
Grealish frequently enjoyed running at the backline and teed Harry Kane up for a few one-on-one chances. On another night, the Birmingham-born maestro would have easily left the Puskas Arena with more than one assist.
It is doubtful Grealish would have struggled to offer the same impact for England if he was still at Aston Villa, rather than Manchester City, having been the talisman at Villa Park.