NextGen Series: Ecstatic Grealish relishing semis with Villa
Jack Grealish is relishing the NextGen Series semi-final against Sporting Lisbon.
Grealish will fly out with the U19s to Lake Como in Italy next week for the finals weekend.
The flying winger said it was a big moment for the young lions to reach the last four with their win over Olympiacos at Villa Park, after falling at the same hurdle the previous campaign.
Villa now face Sporting Lisbon on March 29, kick-off 7pm as they aim for a spot in the final, which is held on April 1, kick-off 5pm.
He said: "It will be a great experience for us going to Italy next week.
"We will be playing against the better teams in the competition. It will be great with all four of us in the semi-finals. It was great to get there and it was a good win for us.
"We got to the quarter-final stage last time at Villa Park and went out to Marseille. We couldn't get the win that night but we did this time. It was a great feeling to get through.
"And special praise to the fans. They were unreal. The support was amazing."
The 17-year-old hailed good pal Samir Carruthers, who skippered the team in the 1-0 win over Olympiacos.
He continued: "Samir was excellent. It was a captain's performance.
"He tackled, ran with the ball, passed - everything.
"In training every day he shows what he's got. He's a great player and he's shown it with the first-team too."
Villa, of course, were without the services of Mikey Drennan, whose six goals catapulted Villa to the last eight of the competition.
Grealish said Drennan - absent with a foot injury - was on everyone's minds as the lads chased a place in the Italian showpiece, which begins in seven days time.
He added: "He came into the changing room before the game. He showed us immense support so I think it was only right that we gave back to him after his massive contribution this season to the team.
"He's done well for us. He scored all those goals and he's the top scorer in the competition. He's done brilliant and it was vital we repaid him."
Make sure you watch extended highlights of our win over Olympiacos.