Jack Grealish’s head teacher lifts lid on school days of £100m Man City star


The Aston Villa talisman this week completed his £100million move to champions Manchester City, and his former head teacher, who has known the Grealish family during triumph and tragedy, is convinced he will only grow further

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Guardiola details why Man City splashed cash on Grealish

He is the man who knew Jack Grealish long before fame and fortune were even on the horizon.

And it is why Chris B­entley insists the ­midfielder will not let the £100million price tag go to his head.

As Grealish begins life as the most ­expensive Premier League signing in history with Manchester City, the ­England hero’s former head teacher has ­revealed how ­family heartache shaped him.

Bentley taught Grealish and his siblings – Kevan, Kiera and Hollie – at Our Lady of ­Compassion Primary in ­Solihull, Birmingham. He knows the family very well to this day, ­despite Jack, now 25, maturing into a superstar with Aston Villa and the Three Lions.

Bentley is convinced ­Grealish will continue his exciting ­development after Pep ­Guardiola broke the British transfer record to sign him.

He says Grealish comes from a strong family, under dad Kevin and mum Karen, who were rocked by the loss of baby Keelan from cot death aged nine months in April 2000, ­and subsequently Hollie’s ­cerebral palsy.

Now retired, Bentley said: “His siblings all went to our school and were very close.

Jack Grealish and his former head teacher Chris Bentley



“The family went through some very difficult times with the loss of baby Keelan and later with Hollie, who is a ­wonderful character but has vision and hearing difficulties.

“They have had their share of tragedy, it is not nice stuff, but it seemed to make them closer and stronger.

“To lose a sibling is a terrible thing and not all families deal with it. But you never felt the kids were haunted by it and it didn’t define the family, ­despite them being very sad.

“It was almost as though Keelan was still there, yet he wasn’t there, but in a nice way.

“I don’t remember the kids ever falling out and Jack was always very caring towards Hollie. He still demonstrates great kindness to her and many others, as he has a natural ­affinity and ability to connect with people who have ­challenges.

“His parents just wanted him and all their children to have a very normal and happy ­childhood. I always thought of Jack and his older brother Kevan as like the Chuckle Brothers because they always had a smile.

“Our relationship as a school with the family was really ­positive. When you have school and parents working as ­partners it is great.

“I can’t honestly say I knew Jack was going to make it as a professional footballer. But all the ingredients were there – a loving, down-to-earth family, a supportive school environment, bags of natural ability, a fantastic work-rate and ­unshakeable inner belief.

“Jack’s parents used to down-play his involvement with Villa but his great, great grandfather Billy Garraty won the FA Cup, so ­perhaps it was meant to happen.”

Grealish went on to make 96 ­Premier League appearances for Villa with 15 goals and 16 assists.

This summer he played an important role in Gareth Southgate’s squad which reached the final of Euro 2020.Now the Champions League beckons as City aim to win the competition for a first time.

Grealish takes the No.10 shirt at Man City


Manchester City FC via Getty Ima)

But Bentley says Grealish is no stranger to silverware after helping their ­primary school to success while ­playing in the Year 6 team when he was only in Year 4.

He said: “I ­remember for us Jack was straight in the team in Year 4, which is exceptional. He wasn’t one of the bigger lads but, at the same time, he was like a ‘pocket rocket’. He wasn’t ever ­physically intimidated. He was very skilful and never seemed to lose his balance.

“He also had great spatial awareness to be a step ahead, and his ball control was superb.

“We won the league with him in Year 4. Then, a couple of years later, we got to the Solihull Schools Cup final, which we drew and the sides shared the trophy, so he won that as well.”

But Bentley admits the star did have one fault.

“He would never wear shin pads – he just wouldn’t do it,” smiled Manchester United fan Bentley, who wishes Grealish all the very best at rivals City.

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