Former Notts County loanee and Aston Villa star Jack Grealish has spoken of how playing under so many managers has impacted on his development and feels that only three managers have trusted him.
The 22-year-old burst onto the scene on loan at Meadow Lane during the 2013-14 season, his performances in tandem with fellow loanee Callum McGregor delighting the Black and White Army during an otherwise poor campaign.
Grealish then returned to Villa and took his form from his Notts loan spell into the then Premier League club's first team, but injuries, lack of form, minor off-field issues blown out of proportion by the gutter press, upheaval in the dugout and all-round malaise at the club, which culminated in relegation, set the talented youngster back.
A freak kidney injury ahead of the 2017-18 season then risked compromising Grealish's career but he has bounced back in true style, establishing himself as one of Villa's standout performers under Steve Bruce and helping the club to the upper spots in the Championship table.
During an interview with the Telegraph, Grealish said: “I feel I’m definitely in the best form of my career. I’ll be honest, in my career I feel like I haven’t been given enough runs of games. I’d play one decent game and then chucked out the team.
“I’ve also had eight managers in four years, if you include [England under-21s head coach] Aidy Boothroyd and Shaun Derry during my loan at Notts County. That’s ridiculous really. It’s not an excuse but it does affect you.
“I think only three managers have trusted me, [Tim] Sherwood, [Roberto] Di Matteo and Bruce.
“It’s been my best season and I’ve been the most consistent. People think I’m a No.10 but my favourite position is playing on the left of a three.”
Bruce recently compared Grealish to Paul Gascoigne and labelled the Solihull-born winger ‘the best player in the Championship’.
“That was great to hear but I didn’t feel any pressure with it at all,” added Grealish. “It gives me a lift and I know the manager is a truthful guy and wouldn’t have just said it. To be mentioned in the same sentence as Gazza was unbelievable in itself, though I know I’m nowhere near that level yet.
“The gaffer said in pre-season he wanted to build the team around me and that’s what you like to hear. To have that belief and trust is massive. I want to repay him by getting Villa promoted.”