Roy Keane delivers verdict on former Man Utd transfer target Jack Grealish
Manchester United legend Roy Keane has hailed Jack Grealish and revealed what he ‘loves’ about the Aston Villa captain after he impressed in England’s Nations League defeat to Belgium.
Gareth Southgate’s side failed to qualify for the Nations League finals after losing 2-0 to Belgium on Sunday evening.
Despite the loss, there were more encouraging signs from Grealish, who also impressed in the recent friendlies against Wales and Republic of Ireland.
Former Red Devils captain Keane worked with Grealish while he was a coach at Aston Villa and says he could emerge as the player as England bid to win a major trophy.
Manchester United expressed interest in signing Grealish over the summer but eventually turned to Donny van de Beek instead.
Keane told ITV: ‘He takes risks. What I love about Jack – and I worked with him at Aston Villa – is his courage.
‘Wanting the ball in tight areas, dealing with the ball, getting you up the pitch, winning free-kicks, courage, he’s quicker than you think.
‘The way he’s improved over the past six months has been fantastic. We keep talking about England winning something or getting to the next level, I think they need a player like Jack to do that. He was outstanding.’
Former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright also heaped praise on Grealish, who helped Villa avoid relegation from the Premier League last season and has continued to impress during the 2020-21 campaign.
Asked whether he is showing signs he can be a regular starter for England, Wright said: ‘Without a doubt.
‘It was a tricky one for him because if he comes in tonight and doesn’t perform, Gareth had every right to say it hasn’t worked out.
‘But it’s his awareness and where he pops up. He gets the ball, runs at players with pace and progresses it.
‘If we look back at Russia and what we needed… if we had Jack Grealish in that team, if we had that kind of player, it might have been a different outcome.
‘He’s totally fearless. He picks the ball up anywhere and he’s comfortable with it and that’s what we needed.’
England boss Southgate, meanwhile, reserved special praise for Grealish after the defeat to top-ranked Belgium.
‘We don’t like losing but enormous credit to the team,’ he said. ‘All the way through they created problems and defended resiliently.
‘I thought we were excellent. I couldn’t have enough praise for the players.
‘We had a different profile of players but in those positions, I thought Jack Grealish had an absolutely outstanding game.
‘Losing Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford, we lose a lot of speed. But I can’t fault the attacking play until the last chance.’
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