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Jack Grealish: I want to follow in the footsteps of Tottenham duo

By Matt Farr

Aston Villa wonderkid Jack Grealish has set his sights on playing for England after explaining how playing for the Under-21s has been so key to his development.

The 21-year-old scored a superb long-range strike to hand Villa a late victory over Wigan on Saturday, extending the club’s run of consecutive home victories to four.

Grealish has contributed three goals and four assists under Steve Bruce this season, but having already fulfilled his life-long dream of playing for the first-team at Villa Park, the youngster has now set his sights on something much bigger.

The midfielder was part of the England U21 side that won the Toulon tournament in May, and reveals that his international experience has helped him grow as a player.

He is now keen to continue impressing and make the step up to Gareth Southgate’s senior side by following in the footsteps of the likes of Tottenham duo Dele Alli and Harry Kane.

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He told the Birmingham Mail: “Playing for the England U21s is helping me so much. And just like when you’re here and playing in the under-21 team at Villa, all you talk about is ‘oh I wish I was in the first team.’

“It’s the same when you are away with England. We’ve seen a lot of players do it like John Stones, Dele Alli and Harry Kane.

“Hopefully some of the U21s can take after them and get into the first-team soon.”

Grealish has previously represented the Republic of Ireland at youth level, but opted in April to remain solely focused on England.

He has made a total of six U21 appearances for England, scoring two goals.

Aston Villa have been impressive since Steve Bruce took over from Roberto Di Matteo in October, recording just one defeat in their last nine league games.

They are 12th in the Championship, just four points behind a play-off place. They face promotion rivals Norwich on Tuesday.

In other Aston Villa news, Football Insider reveals three Manchester United players that Steve Bruce should target in January.