Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish says that insight from Liverpool counterpart Jordan Henderson has proved “massive” in his recent form.
Grealish lit up the Premier League last season as he and his boyhood club returned to the top-flight.
He scored eight goals and six assists in 36 games, proving a shining light as Villa scraped top-flight survival.
This season, however, Dean Smith’s men have enjoyed an excellent first half of the season. Unsurprisingly, another level of form from Grealish has played a vital part.
The 25-year-old has almost topped last season’s influence already, already notching six league goals and 11 assists. But this time round, international recognition with England has also come his way.
As such, he has had chance to mix with players such as Premier League-winning captain Henderson, who has proved a key influence.
“The one thing I am just praying to God for is I get in that squad,” Grealish said (via the Liverpool Echo) of this summer’s European Championships.
“I’ve enjoyed every minute so far. It’s definitely helped bring my game on. Watching those players train and taking little bits from their game. Sometimes it is just speaking to them.
“I remember one night in Belgium I sat with Jordan Henderson for two hours and we chatted about everything.
“It is nice to speak to these people about how they see the game, how they train at different clubs, different cultures. You learn stuff from all these guys and I feel that is one thing which has helped me massively.”
Henderson has faced – and come through – significant adversity in his Reds career, including two near-misses to the top-flight title.
But, like Grealish’s journey, he has grown to become an unmissable player for his club, culminating in his regular place with England.
While Grealish has achieved similar domestic recognition, he realises that he needs to put more hard work in with England.
Grealish hoping for regular England role
“As soon as you start playing for the national team, you up your own game,” he added.
“Hopefully there is more to come but as I’ve said to a lot of people, there is so much talent in the England team in my position. I have to keep doing what I have been doing, keep trying to impress the manager and fingers crossed.
“I still think there is so much more to come from me and that is not being big-headed either.
“It is just having confidence in my own ability. I think everyone I have worked with will say how confident I am as a person and a player in my own ability.
“I truly believe in myself and think I have so much more to give. I have big aims for this season.”
Grealish has made two further senior England appearances after making his debut in September.
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