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Grealish | 'I couldn't turn down chance to play in Champions League'

Jack Grealish has revealed that the lure of playing in the UEFA Champions League was the main reason...


Grealish | 'I couldn't turn do...

Sport

Grealish | 'I couldn't turn down chance to play in Champions League'


Jack Grealish has revealed that the lure of playing in the UEFA Champions League was the main reason that he left Aston Villa.

The England international from Birmingham grew up as a supporter of the Villa Park club where he eventually became captain but he was unable to turn down the chance of playing for Manchester City when they came calling in the summer.

Grealish helped his boyhood club get promoted to the English top-flight after three seasons in the English Championship but after two terms back in the Premier League, he admitted that playing in European football's elite club competition was a big ambition.

"It was something that I just felt like I couldn't turn down, the chance to play Champions League football, to challenge for trophies and to play next to people like Kevin De Bruyne who I've looked up to over the last few years," said Grealish.

"And also to play for the best manager in the world was also a massive factor in it."

His new boss Pep Guardiola will be hoping that a player as talented as Grealish will help him win a fourth Premier League title in charge of City but where he plays him remains a mystery to those outside the club.

He played on the left-wing for Villa but one of England's best young talents, Phil Foden, occupied that position last season for City although Guardiola suggested last week that he can play in the middle as an attacking midfielder or even up front.

"I've spoken to the manager a fair bit," said the former Republic of Ireland under-21 international, when asked where he saw himself playing. "I'm not going to go into too much detail because that's between me and the manager.

"I think that everyone's seen in his press conference that he said he thinks I can play in a number of positions. That is what he has said to me and I feel like I could do that as well. Especially in a team like Manchester City who have so much of the ball."

There were some doubts over whether the ex-Aston Villa captain would get his preferred number ten shirt, which is what he wore at his former club.

There were some reports that suggested it was being held for Harry Kane if City managed to sign the striker from Tottenham but Grealish got his wish and understands the pressure of following the man who wore it before him.

"Getting the number ten shirt was obviously a brilliant feeling for me. I kept saying to my family and to my agent how much I would love to have it here," said Grealish.

"[There are] big shoes to fill after Sergio [Aguero] had it for so many years and we know what a successful player he was here but I feel like I can wear that shirt and play well in it and it shows how much the club value me by giving me that shirt and I'll play in it with full confidence."

Premier League | Live and exclusive commentary returns to Off The Ball this Sunday with Newcastle United v West Ham United (2pm) and Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City (4:30pm) which are both on OTB on Newstalk 106FM and on the OTB Sports app from 1PM.



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Jack Grealish Manchester City Pep Guardiola Premier League

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