Jack Grealish is once more in the headlines after making his first competitive start for England and putting in a starring role in Sunday’s defeat to Belgium in the Nations League.
The 25-year-old has come to prominence being the talisman at Aston Villa; helping steer them to promotion in 2019 and then playing a starring role in helping Dean Smith’s maintain their top-flight status last season.
Grealish has enjoyed such success because he has combined his wonderful natural footballing ability with grit and determination, coming through the physicalities of the Championship and accustomed to opponents targeting him with fouls.
The England international is not a playmaker in the most traditional sense of playing as a ‘number 10’. He has played in that position just once this campaign while his other seven starts have come from a left-sided role in attack and most commonly on the left-side of a three-pronged attack.
Jack Grealish has been a star performer for Aston Villa this season and has impressed with England during the international break too
(Image: 2020 Marc Atkins)
Villa most commonly play a 4-2-3-1 with Grealish on the left of a three-pronged unit of advanced midfielders behind central striker Ollie Watkins.
However, where does Grealish rank in the Premier League ’s list of playmakers and which of the leading clubs in the division where he would start?
Bruno Fernandes is the star man for Manchester United, who were keen on Grealish this summer in the transfer market. But Fernandes’ actual on-pitch position does not clash with Grealish.
The Portuguese maestro plays in a central role – either in the ‘number 10’ position or as a box-to-box midfielder – in a 4-2-3-1 system, similar to what is deployed at Villa Park.
Indeed, Marcus Rashford is the forward who is usually deployed in the left-sided attacking role and the striker has been developed into…