Tag Archives: Jack Grealish


Following Scotland Qualifying for their first major tournament since 1998, England now know that they will face their old rivals at next year’s delayed Euro Championships. Scotland beat Serbia on penalties after Alexander Mitrovic missed the Serb’s final spot-kick to set up an exciting Euro Group Game.

Before then both nations have Nations League business to attend to. England face Belgium away knowing they must win if they are to top their group and repeat the semi-final appearance in 2019. Scotland meanwhile are four points clear at the top of their group with two fixtures remaining meaning promotion to League A is highly likely. England are in the position because of a defeat and draw against Denmark, which under minded their impressive victory against Belgium at Wembley.

Gareth Southgate has announced Jack Grealish will make his first competitive England start after impressing in recent appearances, Grealish is likely to play on the left of a front three and replace Marcus Rashford who withdrew from the squad along with Joe Gomez, and Conor Coady whilst Harry Maguire and Reece James are suspended. This leaves boss Southgate with some tough choices on who lines up in defence. He is likely to stay with a back three with Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, and Michael Keane starting. However, there is a lack of wing-backs available in the squad with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka the only options which may force Southgate to change to a back four. In midfield, I expect to see Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson either as a two or alongside Mason Mount depending on the formation. Harry Kane will return upfront to earn his 50th cap in which he has netted 32 times. Jaden Sancho is the most likely to complete the front three although Phil Foden is an alternative.

Elsewhere there have been mixed fortunes for the Home Nations as Wales are battling with Finland to win Group B4 whilst the Republic Of Ireland are looking to avoid relegation from the same group. The two nations face each other next up before Wales face a group decider against Finland. Northern Ireland lost their Euro play-off final against Slovakia in extra time after equalising late on in the 90 minutes. They are bottom of nations league group B1 and have a huge task to avoid relegation.

Jack Grealish commits future to Aston Villa

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has ended speculation regarding his future with the club by signing a new five-year deal, keeping him at Villa Park until 2025. 

The England midfielder has been linked with a move to Manchester United this transfer window, but he has now confirmed via the club’s Twitter account that his immediate future will be at Villa Park. 

This news will come as a welcome boost to Villa fans, to secure the services of their captain, who has been at his hometown club since he was eight-years old. 

Grealish made his debut for the club towards the back end of the 2013/14 and stuck by Villa despite their relegation in 2016. 

The England international played a crucial role in his team’s return to the top flight and was their top scorer in their first season back in the Premier League. 

Grealish said:

“I am delighted to make this commitment to Villa. It is my club, my home and I am very happy here. The owners have made it very clear to me how ambitious they are and how they want to build Aston Villa.  There are exciting times ahead and I am glad to be apart of it.”

Villa Chief Executive Christian Purslow, meanwhile, said: 

“We are determined to build a top team around him and are delighted that he is extending his contract and committing to the club that he loves.”

Indeed, the Villa owners have clearly demonstrated their ambition for the club this past week as they not only secured Grealish’s future but they have signed last season’s Championship joint-top scorer, striker Ollie Watkins from Brentford for a club record fee of £28 million. 

The midlands side have also brought in full back Matty Cash from Nottingham Forest and look set to add the likes of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal and former Chelsea striker Betrand Traore.

Despite the influx of signings, the aim for Villa is clearly still remaining in the top flight this season and with these latest additions they certainly look to have a fighting chance of achieving this.

Where do you think Aston Villa will finish this season? Do you think they have what it takes to remain in the top flight for the second season running?

Season of VAR howlers

After a season that has taken virtually a year to complete, the major talking point once again has been VAR.

Unfortunately, yet another season has passed us by with more controversy on the use of the system.

When VAR was first introduced, the idea was it would stop debate and get decisions correct. Unfortunately, since its introduction into the game it is still causing disagreement in the football world.

This season in particular there have been some absolutely shocking decisions that have been an embarrassment to the beautiful game.

Back in November there were no less than four instances of the worst possible outcome of the VAR system getting decisions wrong.

On New Years Day more embarrassment when Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish headed home after eleven minutes, but the goal was ruled out as it was deemed offside due to a striker’s heel millimetres ahead of James Tarkowski.

There has also been a huge amount of goals that have been ruled out for handball. Now if it is an obvious hand ball then fair call it should be ruled out. But what we have had constantly this campaign has been instances of players virtually struggling to get their hand or other parts of their anatomy out of the way.

The essence of the problem with VAR centres around two main points. Handball situations and offside.

We have had the most astonishing decisions go against the attacking side when it comes to offside or not. In most cases it has been not a foot but a hand or even a length of hair.

In my opinion then surely, you are either offside or not. The attacking player should always be given the benefit of the doubt.

There is also the famous line that gets trotted out week in and week out- “Clear and obvious”.

Throw in the amount of time that it is taking in most VAR decisions and you can see why most football fans- me including- are totally against this system.

It is clearly not working, but it is looking more and more likely that it will be here to stay.

If there are some positives to come out of the use of VAR, it is that on some occasions it has got decisions correct. In most of these it has been on margins of a very fine line. So that is something positive to come out of the technology and system used.

The system could easily be improved by this formula, which would eliminate mistakes by the VAR officials watching back at Stokley Park.

If Var has to be called on, then let the on-field referee go straight to the monitor and let him decide what the eventual decision should be. He can get help from the VAR officials, but the final decision should lay in the hands of the match referee on the field of play.

Yes, he may get the odd decision wrong but surely, he is the man in the middle who should decide on the eventual outcome. This has got to be better than waiting for a long time before somebody hundreds of miles away decides on a decision, which in most cases is totally wrong.

Otherwise what is the point of having a monitor which is rarely used. It makes sense to use it. Falling that lets just scrap VAR for good, this would be the simplest solution but because the system won’t get discarded, then let’s get the main official involved.

The wonderful game of football is for the fans. They want to see free flowing games of 90 minutes, not endless waiting on VAR decisions which interrupt the flow of the game.

For the sake of football, if we are going to continue with VAR then let us please use it to its proper use, or simply change the laws of the game. By doing so it would stop issues of handball and clear and obvious and would make watching of the sport back to what it used to be like. Plain and simple and easy to understand.

Villa looking to get out of the bottom three on Premiership Resumption

Following a break of just over three months, the Premier League action returns on Wednesday with a game that has implications on both ends of the table, when Aston Villa entertain Sheffield United at Villa Park in a 6.00 pm kick off.

Villa will resume after the enforced break in a perilous position in the bottom three, still two points away from safety. The visitors- in their first season back after promotion last season- are sitting in a very comfortable seventh place with 43 points, only five points off fourth placed Chelsea.

Both sides still have a game in hand over their rivals, however, so Wednesday’s match is huge for both teams.

When these sides last met they played out an enthralling 2-2 draw. The teams have met seven times in the past with The Blades edging the encounters 3-2.

Villa’s last game before the break ended in a thumping 4-0 loss to Leicester City, while Sheffield United earned all three points after a narrow 1-0 win against strugglers Norwich City at Bramall Lane.

The hosts will go into the game in poor form, having mustered just a single win in their last five league games. That sole victory was a 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Watford.

By contrast the visitors will be looking to extend their fine recent run of form after compiling three victories in their last five Premiership games, two of which have been on their travels.

Villa have certainly enjoyed playing in front of their home fans, having found the net in their last ten home games but on Wednesday they will have to do so in front of no fans.

The Blades will relish travelling to Villa Park on a run of three games unbeaten, alongside picking up eight points from their last five matches.

On paper this game has the makings of being a tight cagey affair with Villa only scoring 34 goals so far in the Premiership, but having the worst defence in the division that has so far leaked 56 goals, with Sheffield United scoring 30 and only letting in just 25 goals. However, this trend may change on Wednesday after previous matches between the sides have yielded over three and a half goals per game.

The home side will be looking to midfielder Jack Grealish for inspiration and a goal to increase his tally to eight for the season,  failing to hit the net in his last seven appearances. For the Blades meanwhile, the goals have been evenly shared around by Lys Mousset and John Fleck five apiece. John Lundstram and Oliver McBurnie have also managed four goals each.

The Frenchman Mousset is on a barren run of form at the moment having failed to score since back in December, a run that stretches back to 13 matches.

Team News

Villa have lost Brazilian striker Wesley for the remainder of the season with a knee injury and will also be without goalkeeper Tom Heaton who also has a knee problem.

The visitors look to be going into Wednesday’s game with a clean bill of health.

For both clubs they desperately need to take something from their game in hand, with only nine games remaining thereafter everything is on the line for both of these great old teams.



Three signings Burnley should make to secure a European spot

The surprise package of the 17/18 season so far has been Burnley. Sean Dyche’s side sit in 7th place, five points off the last Europa League spot currently held by Arsenal. This transfer window could be pivotal if the Clarets are to finish in a European spot, so who should they target?

Theo Walcott- While it may seems unlikely Walcott would join Burnley, it seems very likely Walcott will leave the Emirates in this window. With a World Cup on the horizon, if he harbours any hopes of being on the plane to Moscow, a move to a team chasing European football where he would be guaranteed to start may be something he should consider. This transfer would highlight Burnley’s intent, and if Walcott could find his feet this move could be beneficial to all parties.

Yuto Nagatomo- Burnley remain a little bit light in the left back position, and Nagatomo would provide good competition for Stephen Ward. The Japanese international has a lot of experience with Inter Milan, winning a Coppa Italia and playing in Europe for the Nerazzurri. Nagatomo is an attacking fullback, capable of playing at wing-back and has interested both West Brom and Newcastle already this season. But with Burnley challenging at the other end of the table, they may be a more appealing offer for the 31 year old.

Jack Grealish- The young winger has shown glimpses of why he was one of the hottest talents in the country a few years ago, and it may be time he stepped up to the Premier League and was given a more important role than bit part role he played with Aston Villa. The 22 year old can play out wide or in a central role, and would be able to offer the Clarets a more creative spark in a team that is largely well structured but lacks a player who can create something out of nothing. Grealish could be the final piece in the jigsaw for Burnley, and could help take them to the next level.