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Villa skipper Jack Grealish targets England call-up after vowing not to take the Premier League for granted

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Villa skipper Jack Grealish has promised he won’t take the Premier League for granted this time around after outlining his England ambitions.

Jack Grealish led Villa to promotion through the play-offs.

The 23-year-old admits breaking into Gareth Southgate’s team is his personal aim for the season ahead, as he prepares for a top flight return with Villa.

Grealish captained his boyhood club to promotion through the play-offs last term, ending a three-year absence from the elite.

The Bodymoor Heath academy product already has 34 Premier League appearances under his belt, having spectacularly burst onto the scene in 2015.

But he struggled for form during the 2015/16 campaign, which ended in Villa’s relegation, and believes he is returning to the top flight a more mature player after three terms in the Championship.

“Maybe when I was 19, 20 and last played in the Premier League, I took it for granted and didn’t realise how lucky I was to be playing there,” said Grealish.

“Now I am back there I need to grab it with both hands and hopefully push this club as high as possible and so what I can for myself, which is perform, get goals and assists.

“For me, what I want to do this season is get into the England team.”

Southgate watched Grealish in action during Villa’s 2-1 win over Blackburn back in March, during the club’s late season charge to promotion.

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Grealish’s first priority is helping Villa find their feet back in the Premier League.

They kick-off their campaign away to Tottenham on August 10 and the skipper acknowledges they must again get used to being underdogs.

“Last season we were the ones everyone wanted to play against because we were the biggest club in the Championship, in my opinion,” said Grealish.

“This season we are probably not the biggest but we are looking forward to playing the likes of Manchester United and Man City. For now all eyes are on the Tottenham game.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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