Jack Grealish is set to join Man City in a move that will break the UK transfer record.
Childhood fans of Aston Villa are heading to the next step in his career after City honored the £ 100million release clause in their contract.
He has been popular with supporters at club and nationwide with calls for him to start for England at Euro 2020 consistent throughout the tournament.
The attacking midfielder can play on the left or in the No.10 role behind a central striker.
Since the start of the 2019/20 season, Grealish has been ranked in the top 10 of the Premier League for many stats including; Assists, chances created, fouls won and catches completed.
But statistics don’t always tell the whole story. His flair and talent have won many admirers around the world.
Former Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho was a talkSPORT expert throughout Euro 2020 and praised the 25-year-old.
He told talkSPORT: “Grealish, to me, is great and what he creates and his personality – ‘give me the ball’ – reminds me a bit of Luis Figo.
“I don’t like to make comparisons, especially with a Ballon d’Or winner, but Grealish reminds me of my Figo.
“Figo, I had him at different times in my career but I had him in his last season as a player at Inter Milan and even in his last season he was like ‘give it – me the ball and I will solve the problems for you ‘.
“The way Grealish gets the ball and attacks people, fouls, gets penalties, he’s very powerful, I like him a lot.”
His Aston Villa teammate Emi Martinez plays his international football with Argentina, which means he sees Lionel Messi regularly up close.
“He’s the most talented player I’ve ever seen,” Martinez told talkSPORT from Grealish.
“He never gives the ball away. When I see Grealish running it’s always a shot on target or a corner for us. It will overtake two or three players.
“I just see Messi with a right foot when he has the ball. You can’t take the ball away from him. He’s the most talented English player and I’m surprised he hasn’t played more games for England.
“Messi is Messi, he’s the best ever. But in training, when Jack has the ball, people don’t want to tackle him, they respect him, he can finish, he can chop, he can do everything.
“When I train with Messi for the national team it’s the same. Nobody wants to touch him, he cuts people off, he treats players like cones. I see that with Jack here.
England fans regularly compare Grealish to England legend Paul Gascoigne and Robert Snodgrass, who played with him at Aston Villa, thinks the comparisons are appropriate.
“I haven’t seen anyone like him. It is the closest to Gascoigne that I have seen. He takes it anywhere, he dribbles in front of people, ”Snodgrass told talkSPORT.
“There’s a lot of off-court stuff that people have talked about and he’s my pet. We talk a lot about the negatives but no one sees the work going on behind the scenes, this kid works as hard as I’ve ever seen him.
“He’s at the gym at 6-7am everyday, he took fitness trainer Oli Stephenson, who would put him through hard and intense workouts to live in his house.”
Watford forward Troy Deeney agreed with the comparisons made with Gazza and told talkSPORT in November: “Jack is absolutely fearless. He will want the ball in any situation, no matter who he is playing against, he wants it. He wants to drive and win in the game.
“I’ve said it before and we laughed at him – that’s in my opinion the closest thing to Gascoigne.
“We haven’t seen this maverick, this guy who’s going to turn a game upside down and literally wants the ball anywhere.”
Before Grealish made his entry into Villa’s squad, he spent the 2013/14 season on loan with Notts County as a teenager.
His talent was evident even then and single-handedly kept the club in League One that season.
“We talk about Gazza in the past, who just wanted the ball at his feet. That was him, ”Shaun Derry, then boss of Notts County, told talkSPORT.
“As a young manager at the time, I needed to be guided by my influences around me. Greg Abbot turned to me and told me to trust him.
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“Trust him at 17. I think “trust a 17-year-old in League One and we are fighting for our lives.”
“The best advice I could really take away was this. Trust him. We trusted him so much that he kept us in the league.
His teammate at the time, Jamal Campbell-Ryce added: “He was so confident. When a new player walks into the locker room, it’s always a little intimidating.
“As soon as he got on the grass, from the first five minutes, everyone could see the talent and the abilities he had.
“Jack was by far the best young player and player I’ve seen live and played with.
“He has this gift of sliding right in front of the players and pulling the players towards the ball and then making the right decision.”