Jack Grealish has finally announced himself on the international stage, despite England’s 2-0 defeat to Belgium.
The loss against the top ranked side in the world ends England’s hope of progressing in the Nations League, but it wasn’t all bad news for Gareth Southgate’s side.
After much clamour, Grealish was handed his first competitive start for his country and carried his club form over with an impressive performance.
On the game, the Aston Villa midfielder said: "Absolutely loved it. I think for me this is what I've been waiting for. These are the games I've dreamt of playing in – against the No.1 team in the world. I absolutely loved it out there. I've grown up my whole life wanting to play for England and I think everyone that knows me knows that I love playing football.
"Overall it's a team game. We wanted to go out there and win tonight and devastated that we didn't get the win."
Asked who he based his game on, Grealish added: "I watch loads of clips. I watched clips of De Bruyne, clips of Coutinho. Players that are in my position really. That's what I've done since I was a little kid and I still do it to this day. I have no shame in saying that. That's what gets me going for football matches."
The 25-year-old has arguably been the best player in the top-flight so far this season, but has refused to accept that his England place is now assured.
"You look around the changing room and there's unbelievable talent,” Grealish said. “There's people who haven't been in the squad.
“Likes of Marcus, Raheem, Jadon, Phil, Mason all in my position who are world class players. Especially the two who aren't here at the moment – Raheem and Marcus.
“They've both been here. I've tried to learn little bits off them. Hopefully I can continue to do that because it's a dream to play with them one day."
Following the loss, the England boss was full of praise for Grealish, claiming he has added a new element since his call-up.
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Southgate said: “We couldn’t have been happier with what he did. He should be really proud of his performance – he really stood up against as tough an opponent as you could face.
“I think firstly as a person since he’s come into the camp, he’s impressed us with his approach, curious to find out what we’re looking for from him and has taken that on board with his performances in training and in games.
“He’s transferred his club performances into international football tonight against a top level opponent.”
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