Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish says he needs to impress in the Premier League for his career to be deemed a success.

He first played for the Birmingham-based club during the 2014-15 Premier League campaign as a 19-year-old.

However, a series of off-field indiscretions and relegation with Villa in 2016 saw Grealish’s stock fall rapidly.

Under Bruce’s management he has become a key member of the side and his career is back on an upward trajectory.

Grealish is aware that although he is performing well in the Championship, he has a long way still to go.

“For me to put myself up there, I need to be doing it in the biggest league, which is probably the Premier League,” he told Sky Sports News.

“I’m enjoying what I’m doing but at the moment, there’s only really one aim – to get the club back to the Premier League.”

He added that Bruce’s decision to sign John Terry in the summer has given him a huge boost and a useful barometer of the dedication it takes to succeed.

“When he first came, I couldn’t believe how humble he was,” Grealish added.

“Every day after training, he was there until late hours, making sure he does recovery right.

“You can see why he’s had such a successful career.”

The 22-year-old has made 20 appearances for the club this season, scoring against Burton Albion in February.

Manager Steve Bruce has guided the Villans to fourth in the Championship table and promotion is a realistic possibility.

A return to the Premier League next season would give Grealish the opportunity to prove himself at the highest level once again.

But at the same time, he is in no great rush to build on the seven England Under-21 international caps he has and push for international honours.

“I’m still only 22, I’ve been in the Villa squad for a number of years, but I’m still only young,” he said.

“Some players don’t make their debuts for their countries until they’re 24, 25.

“I still feel like I’ve got quite a while.”

Once labelled unprofessional by then-manager Remi Garde, it seems clear that the midfielder has learned some useful lessons and matured – both as a person and a player.

The influence of Bruce and Terry – men with experience of playing and winning in the Premier League – may have been exactly what Grealish needed to turn his career around.


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