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Grealish: I love Gazza comparisons – I want to star at Euros like him

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ack Grealish is relishing being compared to Paul Gascoigne, but believes he cannot be mentioned in the same breath as the England legend until he shines at a major tournament.

Grealish has been the star of the show for England during this international break and he was named man of the match last night for his performance in the 4-0 win over Iceland.

Goals from Declan Rice, Mason Mount and two from Phil Foden secured the victory at Wembley Stadium in the Nations League dead rubber and Grealish followed up his impressive performance against Belgium last week with another strong display.

The 25-year-old’s fine form has led to him being compared to Gascoigne, but Grealish believes he cannot be compared to the former midfielder until he delivers at a major tournament – with next summer’s rescheduled Euros now firmly in his sights.

“I thrive off those kind of comparisons. I love Gazza,” said Grealish.

“I’ve watched his documentary on Netflix about a million times. I love his character on the pitch and off the pitch.

“I loved the way he played football with such freedom and such joy. You hear so many people speak about him and say he was just a joy to watch – and I think that is the biggest compliment that you can have really.

“When people say to me: ‘It is just a joy to watch you’, it makes me happy because that is 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 those comparisons I think are obviously far away yet because I have not even played at a tournament, like he did.

“He thrived on the biggest stage and, until I do that, I think I can’t really be compared to him at the moment.”

The pressure and scrutiny on Grealish has increased following his performances for England, and that will only continue to do so in the build-up to the Euros in the summer.

The Aston Villa captain, however, is confident he can handle the pressure as he feels he has matured recently.

“Years ago I didn’t really think it was a thing on the pitch, it was more off the pitch where I still thought I was just Jack from Solihull and I could just go out and do what I want,” said Grealish.

“But as you get older you probably learn that you are a hero to a lot of young lads. You are a role model and you need to watch what you’re doing.

“That’s not saying I still won’t make mistakes, because I probably will, but I feel like I have grown up over the years.

“Hopefully I can carry on doing that. I am captain now of a Premier League club and I have got to take it all in my stride, because at the moment I am just absolutely loving my life.

“The pressure on the pitch is what I love. With all these big games, there are certain people it can affect, but I just thrive off it. I absolutely love all the big games and I love the pressure.”

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