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One on One: Grealish on his Aston Villa hero, who Abraham reminds him of, school reports and low socks

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One on One: Grealish on his Aston Villa hero, who Abraham reminds him of, school reports and low socks

Jack Grealish is the latest player in the spotlight as he takes part in our ‘One on One’ interview feature series.

His answers are below.

First Villa hero?

It’s got to be Benito Carbone.

I loved that guy and I loved the way he played. He’s one of the very first players I remember when I was a kid getting into football.

CarboneProfileHe scored a hat-trick in an FA Cup game against Leeds back in the day and I remember the one goal so vividly – he smashed it in from what felt like miles out. It was a brilliant strike.

It’s no surprise that Benito was my first hero - like him, I enjoy exciting the crowd. 

You always look at people who are similar to you, like Benito I'm a forward – and I suppose you model yourself on them, too.

BentekeProfileBest player you’ve played with and against?

I’m going to go with Christian Benteke.

He was so, so good when he was here. He was phenomenal. 

His feet were unbelievable. He was technically gifted for a big guy. I think he’s quite similar to Tammy Abraham in that respect. 

He was a gentle giant too, such a nice guy.

The best player I’ve played against is Wayne Rooney. 

He was incredible in his prime. I admired his work-rate. He always put the team first. You saw him tracking back, helping out all over the pitch. 

There’s the clip from when he moved to the USA where he won the ball back deep in his half and then set up the winning goal – that sums up Wayne.

EnglandWCProfileHow impressed were you with England in the World Cup – and how much a target to get into the Three Lions first team?

I thought we were unbelievable over in Russia. 

Getting to the semi-finals was a very good achievement – no-one expected it.

My two friends Demarai Gray and Ben Chilwell have only just been called up and hopefully one day that can be me – hopefully soon.I’d love to play in a World Cup for England. 

The first one I can remember was 2002 in Korea and Japan. I was watching that at school. 

Obviously I can’t remember too much because I was only young but I do remember school came to a standstill for a couple of hours because of the early kick-offs. They let us watch in the school hall. 

What are Gareth Southgate’s best traits?

I’d say the confidence he gives to his players.

When I played under him, he used to tell me to go out there and play with no fear – believe in yourself.

GrealishChelseaYoungTell us how you found out you were in the squad for the Chelsea game in 2012?

It was a strange one, actually. 

I was upstairs at the Training Ground. I’d come out of school early. I did that when I was in Year 10 and 11. I had one to one tutoring. 

I was in class and Kevin MacDonald came in and told me I was in a meeting and said ‘you’re involved in the game tomorrow against Chelsea.’ It was funny because the U18s were also playing Chelsea that weekend. 

So it confused me a bit in that split-second. I thought ‘does he mean the U18s or the First Team?’ 

To be fair, playing for the U18s was a massive thing for me back then because I was only 16 at the time.

To get the call-up to the First Team was just incredible.

Tell us about your low socks and small shinpads?

Obviously your socks are supposed to go above your calves. 

But one year when I was here, the socks once shrunk in the wash. So they wouldn’t go higher. 

That season, I ended up playing really well. So it became a superstitious thing for me. I thought ‘I’m going to keep doing this because I’ve done well’. 

A lot of people say that it’s because of George Best. While I love him and admire so much what he did, that isn’t the reason.

AbrahamReactionRotherhamWhat do you expect from Tammy Abraham this season? 

As I said, he reminds me of Christian Benteke because he’s just so good with his feet.

A lot of Villa fans probably remember watching him when he was last in the Championship because he was at Bristol City and scored about 20+ goals.

Considering how young he was at the time and the amount he scored, I thought that was very impressive. 

Now he’s older, he’s a better player. He’s played in the Premier League. He’s played for England. 

I’m sure the fans will love him. The lads already know how much of an asset he will be – he really is that good.

What did your school report say about you?

Probably that I wasn’t the best! 

I was well behaved. But, like any sportsman, I longed for PE and getting outside in break time to play football.

As soon as I found out Villa wanted to take me full-time, I was over the moon. 

JTProfileInfluence of John Terry when he was here?

He was unbelievable for me, in all honesty.

JT helped me so much on and off the pitch. 

To have someone like him alongside me – someone who has won everything there is to win – was very special.

Paul Brown
By @paulbrownavfc 3rd October 2018