Jack Grealish hopes to follow in the footsteps of English icons Paul Gascoigne and Wayne Rooney by starring in Euro 2020.
Grealish got his first start in the tournament during England’s 1-0 win over the Czech Republic, giving the assistant to Raheem Sterling’s winner as the three Lions secured their progress as group winners.
Gareth Southgate’s side now face second-placed Group F – either France, Germany, Portugal or Hungary – at Wembley in the last 16 Tuesdays, and Grealish has spoken of his willingness to emulate some of the national team’s most iconic players and produce in a major tournament.
“Definitely. I’ve talked about how big these tournaments can be in the players’ careers,” he said Sky Sports when asked if Euro 2020 could be his creation.
“If you look back and think of Gazza in Italia 90, it was here that he first made one … yes, he was obviously still known before, but I think everyone remembers him especially for that tournament.
“You look at Wayne Rooney at Euro 2004 – I think it was here that he put his marker to say that I will be one of the best in the world.
“I hope to follow in their footsteps and hopefully I can do so if I get more chances in this tournament.”
Grealish has denied allegations that playing for England puts further pressure, saying he is keen to continue to enjoy his football regardless of the occasion, although the Aston Villa captain admits he would like more from his second-half appearance against the Czechs despite a ‘good performance’.
“I do not think it’s pressure,” he said. “I love to play soccer. That’s what I get paid to do. That’s what I’m born to do.
“I just play football every day of my life. When I go out there and play, there is no pressure on me at all. I go out there and just have fun as always.
“I felt I had a good performance, but I might still feel that in the second half I could have been on the ball a little more and probably tried to dictate the game a little more from England’s point of view.”