Harry Redknapp insists he’s been left in no doubt about how good a talent Jack Grealish is.
The English boss told how the Aston Villa winger made a big impression on him during the club’s 1-0 victory over derby rivals Birmingham in the Capital One Cup last month.
Grealish – who also controversially pledged his international future to England over Ireland in September – was a half-time substitute in the game and was credited by both Tim Sherwood and Birmingham boss Gary Rowett as the man who changed the game in Villa’s favour.
Redknapp was at home watching that game too and was similarly impressed by the ability Grealish had – and believes British football needs to see more players with an unpredictable approach to attacking.
Speaking to Graham Hunter at the time on his The Big Interview podcast, Redknapp was asked about valuing creative talent over risk with a certain type of attacking player and replied:
Yes, but I think you have to.
I watched a game last night on TV, I’m watching Aston Villa play Birmingham – the first half was dire, it was dire. I’m watching and thinking ‘look at this’.
Suddenly they bring a kid on [called] Grealish and this kid is floating over the pitch, he’s beating players, he’s doing dragbacks, he’s playing passes – he just lit the game up.
I thought ‘what a talent’, whether he’ll go on to be what he should be, but my god, he just changed the whole football match when he walked on to the pitch. It was amazing to watch.
Redknapp also lamented the lack of creative wingers in British football – especially in Scotland – while speaking in the latest of Hunter’s insightful podcasts.
He can’t understand why a country which produced so many talented attackers, such as Celtic legend Jimmy Johnstone and Rangers hero Davie Cooper, have such little quality at the top level now.
People want to see people do stuff that they can’t.
Where are the great wingers? Where’s the Jimmy Johnstones, where’s the wee Willie Hendersons, where’s the Davie Coopers that played in Scotland? Where are the great dribblers? Where have they gone?
People now, one against one, how many people can beat anybody? That’s why when you watch Messi play he’s just incredible to watch.
He does stuff that’s just incredible. And I love watching people do stuff, that can beat people, dribble and do something that the average man on the street or average Sunday player can’t do.
Redknapp is famed for trusting creative attackers who had a bad streak in their game.
He had Paolo Di Canio at West Ham, Robert Prosinecki at Portsmouth and Adel Taarabt at QPR to name but a few throughout his career.
You can hear the rest of Redknapp’s appearance on The Big Interview podcast here.