April 22, 2021

Manchester United-linked Grealish ‘belongs’ in the Champions League, says ex-Villa team-mate Gestede

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The English midfielder has been tipped to seal a move to Old Trafford after helping to keep Dean Smith’s side in the Premier League

Manchester United-linked Jack Grealish “belongs” in the Champions League, according to his ex-Aston Villa team-mate Rudy Gestede.

Grealish capped a superb first season back in the Premier League by scoring in a 1-1 final day draw with West Ham, which ensured that Dean Smith’s side avoided an immediate return to the Championship.

That effort took his tally to eight top-flight goals in 2019-20, and earned him plenty of plaudits from fans and experts across England, many of who believe he is now ready for the next step in his fledgling career.

United legend Ryan Giggs has been among those to back Grealish to complete a move to Old Trafford, insisting he has the “mentality” to succeed at one of the world’s biggest clubs.

Tottenham have also been credited with an interest in the 24-year-old, but another former Red Devil, Michael Owen, says he has it on good authority that the playmaker has “his heart set” on a switch to Manchester.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men secured a top-three spot and Champions League qualification by beating Leicester in their last outing of the campaign, while Spurs had to settle for sixth and a place in the Europa League.

Gestede, who played with Grealish at Villa Park between 2015 and 2017, says the opportunity to play on Europe’s biggest stage is a huge draw for his old colleague, who he believes will soon win a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

“He was talented when I was there. He was a young player with a lot of potential, and in the last few seasons, he’s shown he’s got the shoulders to carry it,” the former Villa striker told Talksport.

“Now he’s the captain of the team, so he’s got a bit more responsibility and he’s dealt with it very well. He deserves to be in the spotlight. He deserves a call from England probably very soon.

“I think there’s two choices: the first choice, to build Aston Villa with Jack Grealish as the main guy and to make sure they spend money on good players to get Villa back to where they should be.

“Or, Jack Grealish could choose to leave to a bigger team because he doesn’t want to wait too long to build something, and he wants to play in the Champions League straight away. I think he’s got the quality for this.

“It’s not an easy to decision. The club have got a contract with him and they’ve got to decide if they sell or not. I’ve just read that they’ve put a very high price for him and it could be difficult to move for him. He’s got the ability and the talent to play in the Champions League, so that’s where he belongs.”