Darren Bent has admitted he has been blown away by the “sensational” rise of Jack Grealish at Aston Villa.
The former Villa and England striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, recalled when a “quiet” Grealish joined first-team training for the first-team at the club and how the squad knew there was “something special there”.
The 25-year-old was unable to bring his impressive form from international duty with England back to Villa Park as Dean Smith’s men slipped to a 1-0 defeat at home to Brighton on Saturday.
Grealish played the full 90 minutes and while he was not among the goals or assists, Seagulls defender Tariq Lamptey was sent off for a second yellow card after fouling him.
However, Bent has been left drooling over the homegrown hero’s rise at Villa Park and has insisted he deserves all the plaudits heading his way.
Bent told Football Insider: “We’ve seen it for a number years now, him playing really well but now everyone’s seeing it since he stepped up to the world stage. I can understand that excitement about him.
“He’s turned into a very, very good player and there’s still more to come from him, which is quite scary, but from his own perspective and seeing his very first session when he came to train with us to where he is now, he’s been absolutely sensational.
“We could all see there was something special there, we could tell by his very session, but he was quite quiet, quite placid, but listen, the moment he got into the first-team we all knew how good he was.
“It seems effortless what he does with the football, kind of off-script, but it works for him. Listen, he’s been brilliant. He deserves all the plaudits he’s been getting and long may it continue.”
Grealish has scored four goals and chipped in with a further six assists in eight Premier League games, while he is now just four games away from 200 appearances for the club.