LONDON (Reuters) - England’s creative midfielder Jack Grealish says he is thriving on the comparisons being made between him and one of the country’s most audacious playmakers Paul Gascoigne.
Grealish’s ability to go past players and create and score goals has prompted some to compare him to Gazza, as he is known to England fans, who became one of the most sought-after players in the world after dazzling at the 1990 World Cup in Italy.
“I thrive off those kind of comparisons (to Gascoigne),” Grealish told reporters after England eased to a 4-0 win over Iceland in their final Nations League group game on Wednesday.
“I love the way he played football with all the freedom and all the joy... I want to entertain people but I always want to be effective on the pitch like Gazza was too.”
Grealish, 25, burst onto the scene in the Premier League early in his career, but faced media scrutiny after a number of late night incidents.
He says he has matured since then and can handle the pressure that comes with his new-found England profile. He was voted man of the match on Wednesday.
“I think I’m now old enough and wise enough to handle that (pressure) now,” the Aston Villa player said.
“As you get older, you learn you are a hero to a lot of people and you are a role model ... I’ve got to take it in my stride, and I’m just loving my life.”
Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Toby Davis
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.