CAPTAIN, leader, legend – Jack Grealish is relieving himself.

Chelsea and England star who is now assistant to Villa Park boss Dean Smith.

  Villa captain Jack Grealish, speaking at the FiIFA 20 EA Sports World Launch, feels like he's in the act

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Villa captain Jack Grealish, speaking at the FiIFA 20 EA Sports World Launch, feels like he's in the act
  Villa players Anwar El Ghazi and Tyrone Mings squared up against West Ham - but Jack Grealish told them to resolve the argument during the interval

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Villa players Anwar El Ghazi and Tyrone Mings squared up against West Ham – but Jack Grealish told them to resolve the argument during the interval
  Villa hero Jack Grealish thrives on the tips of Chelsea's great John Terry, now the Aston Villa assistant boss

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Villa hero Jack Grealish thrives on the tips of Chelsea's great John Terry, now the Aston Villa assistant boss

But when Tyrone Mings and Anwar El Ghazi squared up to each other during Monday's 0-0 draw with West Ham, the 24-year-old skipper took responsibility.

Grealish said, "It happens sometimes in games. Emotions are running high. It probably was not what we wanted.

"We came in at half-time and we spoke all. Even JT had a little word and just said, 'Look, nothing's personal'.

"Then I said, 'You two can shout at each other now but before we go out there in the second half, you two are shaking hands and we're going out together'.

"The manager spoke about the first half, then everything calmed down. Before they went out for the second half, they shook hands.

"I think that's why the manager probably gave me the captain's role, because I'm not afraid to say stuff.
"I'm not the oldest but because I've been at Villa my whole life and have the captain's bracelet now, a few of the lads do tend to listen."

In the cosmopolitan world of modern football, there are not many whose managers and captains are both lifelong fans, as Grealish and Smith are.

WOLVES INSPIRE US

Grealish, speaking at the FIFA 20 World Premiere, said: "It's massive. The manager sees what it means because he is a villa fan.

"Everything I have done in my life, coming up, watching every game, going as a kid" – he's done all that as well.

"With Dean, all you have to do is watch it.

"He has about 40 of them every single game!"

But passion and understanding the particular culture of a club can only take you so far, especially in the ruthlessly competitive world of the Premier League.

Villa was among the biggest spenders in European football in the summer, splashing out £ 131.5million on a dozen signings.

So far that investment has yielded FOUR points from five games – but Grealish is targeting more than just survival.

He said: "You only have to look at your neighbors and that's Wolves.

  Midfielder Jack Grealish gets plenty of pointers from John Terry and says he can play much better than his fine early-season form

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Midfielder Jack Grealish gets plenty of pointers from John Terry and says he can play much better than his fine early-season form
  Dean Smith took Aston Villa back to the Premier League to celebrate the joy of Jack Grealish

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Dean Smith took Aston Villa back to the Premier League to celebrate the joy of Jack Grealish

"They came up last time and look like they were doing it on – they finished seventh and are in Europe this season.

"I know they have not had the best of starts in the Premier League this time, but I think we can take some inspiration from that.

"I spoke with the manager at the start of the season and we both said the same thing.

"We do not want to come into the Premier League just to finish 17th, 16th.

"We want to finish as high as possible – and I believe we have the players to do that."

Today's match against Arsenal at the Emirates would be a good place to show that potential.

It is also the sort of stage on which Greater needs to perform in his way into Gareth Southgate's England squad.

It is almost four years since the midfielder declared his future with his birthplace of England, rather than Ireland, the country of three grandparents.

'NOWHERE NEAR MY BEST YET'

Grealish was part of the England Under-21 side that won the Toulon Tournament under Southgate in 2016.

Other members of that squad – Jordan Pickford, Ben Chilwell, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, James Ward-Prowse, Nathan Redmond and Arsenal's Calum Chambers – have all gone on to win senior caps.

Grealish is still waiting for that honor, so does he have any regrets?

He said: "No. I'm English, I was born in England.

"They've all capped and we were all in the same squads, so why can not I?

"The other week when Tyrone got called up, the manager just said to me, 'I've just come back to you."

Grealish knows he needs to be up and running Southgate's hand. But with Terry there as mentor, he believes he can do it.

He said: "At the beginning of the season, I've shown a bit of stuff – but I'm nowhere near what I know I can produce.

"I was speaking to John the other day and he saying that even when he played, it always took him five or six games to get into the swing of things.



It's a completely different kettle of fish. I'm sure I'll get better.

I'm a captain of a Premier League team, I'm 24 years of age.

"It's down to me. If I can perform the level I know I can, I trust myself to get into that squad. This is my time. "

  Jack Grealish shows off his Fifa 20 EA Sports Ratings as he talks about his pride at skipping villa

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Jack Grealish shows off his Fifa 20 EA Sports Ratings as he talks about his pride at skipping villa
  Jack Grealish says neighbors Wolves are so great in their first season back in the top flight
Jack Grealish says neighbors Wolves are so great in their first season back in the top flightCredit: AP: Associated Press