Jack Grealish’s father Kevin has outlined that he feels the Aston Villa captain’s experience playing Gaelic football helped with his development at a younger age.
Grealish has been excellent this season since returning to the Premier League with Villa scoring six times and notching up five assists as Dean Smith’s side look to avoid the drop.
The 24-year-old’s form has seen him linked with a move to Manchester United while also being tipped for an England call-up, his first since switching his international allegiances from Ireland to England.
Losing Grealish to England has long been a bone of contention for many in Irish football, especially given the fact that he had a clear connection with the country – playing GAA from an early age.
Grealish represented John Mitchels in Dorridge, Solihull as well as playing the game in school and speaking to Birmingham Live, his father Kevin outlined that he felt his GAA experience was massive in his soccer development.
“He’d run the show playing Gaelic. It really helped him because he was knocked from pillar to post. It’s brutal compared to soccer.
“Jack, as you know, is good with his feet but you can pick the ball up as well and he’d flick it around everyone!
“I told Gordan Cowans (Aston Villa coach) that once. He asked why Jack was so good at expecting tackles and stuff and it was the GAA. It really built up his upper body, players would bounce off him. It’s probably why he’s so strong today.
“He had to stop playing at 16, though, they’d just be stamping on his fingers and it became all too much. We had Nike knocking at the door at this point as well who wanted to sponsor him.
“It was a summer sport, Gaelic, and he’d play that non-stop, he didn’t care about your crickets or rugbys.”
Grealish will be hoping that he can continue his strong form this season when his side take on Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday.
Aston Villa currently sit 17th in the table just one point off Bournemouth in the relegation zone.