Wayne Rooney has likened Jack Grealish to England legend Paul Gascoigne and he has suggested that he would love to manage the midfielder.
Grealish has shone for Aston Villa this season and he has been named in Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad for the Euros.
The midfielder impressed in their pre-tournament friendlies against Austria and Romania. Despite this, he has been left out of their starting XI for their Euros opener against Croatia.
Man City duo Raheem Sterling and Phil Foden were favoured by Southgate over Grealish. Rooney has told The Times that Grealish will “light up” this summer’s European Championships:
“Jack Grealish is the closest thing I’ve seen to Gazza on a football pitch.
“He has a lot to do to reach Gazza’s levels but his style of play, the way he takes the ball and runs with it in a way that is so awkward to play against, his sheer confidence on the field – it all reminds me of the legend I watched at Everton, and then trained with when I joined their first-team squad.
“For England, I think Harry Kane is the most important player but Grealish is the one who is going to light up the tournament. He has to play.
“Just like Gazza, his style is suited to the international game, where moments of inspiration often make the difference.
“If you’re looking for someone to open a team up with a bit of magic then Grealish is the one who can do it for Gareth Southgate’s side.
“He attracts defenders, draws fouls and wins free kicks in dangerous areas. He creates chances and scores goals too.
“Foden is a top player, a footballer who – as you see at Manchester City – will link play up, pass and move and can dribble too.
“But it’s Grealish who commits defenders more, dragging them out of position, which will create space for other players.
“I’d love to manage Grealish and if I did, I’d encourage him to express himself, to not be afraid of mistakes or giving the ball away, especially in the final third.
“I’d also loved to have played with Jack. I was a player who studied defenders and when Jack takes the ball and draws them out of position, I would have been looking to exploit the spaces they left.”
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