Aston Villa star Jack Grealish has said he will continue to ‘take the kicks’ in order to help England at Euro 2020 this summer, explaining that being fouled regularly is just part of his style of play and ignoring the fear that he could end up injured.
Grealish has become one of the Premier League’s most exciting attacking players since his return to the top flight with Villa in 2019 and is widely considered to be a potential X-factor for England this summer in what will be his first international tournament.
The 25-year-old, who famously plays with tiny shiny pads and low socks almost down to his ankles, had an ice pack on his leg after England’s first warm-up friendly against Austria. He and others also saw first hand how it can end very quickly when Trent Alexander-Arnold forced to pull out of the squad through injury after something as innocuous and routine as a clearance.
“That was one tackle that went on to my shin where I’ve been quite sore. But I think I’ve got this — I don’t know if it’s a quality, I’d like to say it is — of riding challenges,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“Even though I get fouled and go down, I ride them quite well...I’m going to touch wood there! The way I play, I’m going to get kicked all the time and I can’t really be running with the ball and thinking at the back of my head, ‘If I get kicked here, I’m one kick away [being injured’.”
“Trent did his [thigh] just by kicking the ball away. So it’s one of those. If it ever happens it is part and parcel. It is what comes with the way I play.”
Grealish also revealed advice that former Villa manager Martin O’Neill once gave him about it being better to draw fouls around the penalty area rather than in his own half.
“I’ll take the kicks to help my team, definitely,” he said. “We are blessed with unbelievable free-kick takers here. Trent, Tripps [Kieran Trippier], H [Harry Kane]. As long as I can keep getting as many fouls around the box.”