Jack Grealish has played a key role for Aston Villa across the past 12 months.
First, he captained the club to survival in the Premier League, keeping them in the top-flight after a season flirting with relegation. He scored eight goals and registered six assists throughout the campaign.
This season, he has raced out of the starting blocks, having signed a new contract in the summer transfer window, ending any speculation over his future for the foreseeable future.
In his first three games, he has scored three goals and also registered three assists; this is a player surely approaching his peak.
He has been rewarded for his form with an England call-up, which some may feel is long overdue, and he is even delving into off-field activities.
Indeed, Villa strengthened significantly in the summer transfer window, signing the likes of Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Martinez, and Ross Barkley.
The latter came on loan from Chelsea and Grealish has now claimed that he played a key role in convincing his Three Lions team-mate to move to Villa Park.
Speaking to the London Evening Standard, the 25-year-old said: "I'd been speaking to him for the past three weeks trying to get him to come, messaging him every single and in the end I was over the moon.
"I think he is an unbelievably talented player and I can't wait to get playing with him.
"I'm not going to sit here and say 'I persuaded him', he was asking questions about what it is like, what training and the staff are like. I was giving him good feedback.
“At the end of the day he wants to play, it is no secret to anyone how many players Chelsea have brought in this summer so he probably felt like he wouldn't play as much as he wanted to and that is what he wanted to do with the Euros coming up.
"I think that is a big thing, it is a statement signing. I see bits of myself in him, the way he can receive the ball, run at players and thread passes. I can't wait to play with him because we've brought in some good signings already so it'll be interesting to play with Ross."
GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…
Grealish really is Mr. Aston Villa.
The Villa captain has helped his club gain promotion, captained them to survival, and is now thriving in Dean Smith’s new-look side.
They have shown their ambition this summer by bringing in some genuinely excellent signings, with Barkley one of them.
That Grealish played such a key role shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone; after committing his future, he is only likely to be effusive in his praise of his boyhood club.
If he keeps this up, expect a statue to be built eventually.News Now - Sport News