England midfielder Jack Grealish is embracing comparisons to Paul Gascoigne after continuing his impressive form against Iceland.
Grealish helped England complete their Nations League campaign with a 4-0 victory at Wembley on Wednesday.
The Aston Villa star made three key passes and was fouled six times – three more than any other player – as Phil Foden scored twice after goals from Declan Rice and Mason Mount.
Amid comparisons to former England star Gascoigne, Grealish welcomed the comparisons, but said he still had work to do.
“I thrive off those kinds of comparisons. I love Gazza. I’ve watched his documentary on Netflix about a million times,” he said.
“I love his character, on the pitch and off the pitch. I love the way he played football, such a freedom and such a joy. You know, you’ve you hear so many people speak about him and say it was just a joy to watch.
“And I think that’s the biggest compliment that you can have, when people say to me, it’s just a joy to watch you, you know that makes me happy, because that’s what I want to do. I just want to entertain people but I also want to be effective on the pitch just like Gazza was.
“But obviously those comparisons are far away, because I’ve not even played a tournament. Like he thrived on the biggest stage. And until I do that, I think I can’t really be compared to him at the moment.”
Congratulations, Jack pic.twitter.com/V8oXeWWa4Z
— England (@England) November 18, 2020
The win over Iceland was Grealish’s fifth international appearance, and he has impressed in the Nations League, with only Harry Kane (eight) creating more chances from open play than his six for England.
Grealish has faced criticism for off-field issues in the past, but the 25-year-old said he was growing and learning.
“Years ago I didn’t really think it was like a thing on the pitch, it was more off the pitch where I still thought I was just Jack from Solihull that I could just go out and do what I want,” he said.
“As you get older, you probably learn that you’re a hero to a lot of young lads, you’re a role model. And you need to obviously watch what you’re doing and that’s not saying that I still won’t make mistakes because, you know, I probably will.
“But I feel like I’ve grown up over the years and hopefully now I can carry on doing that as captain of a Premier League club. So, I was gonna take it all in my stride because at the moment I just absolutely love my life.”
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