Former England and Manchester United full-back Paul Parker has questioned the hype surrounding Jack Grealish and urged the comparisons between him and Paul Gascoigne to come to an end.
The Aston Villa captain has enjoyed a remarkable spell for club and country on the pitch of late. After helping his boyhood club avoid relegation from the Premier League last season, Grealish has carried through his excellent form into the new campaign.
The 25-year-old already has four goals and five assists in the Premier League this season, and his standout performances for Villa have been rewarded with five England caps.
Grealish earned rave reviews for his silky display in the Three Lions’ 2-0 defeat to Belgium in the Nations League last weekend, prompting some to compare his playing style to that of England icon Gascoigne.
But Parker believes the midfielder is being overhyped and accused him of going too easily under challenge, as well as taking too many touches on the ball.
The former Three Lions defender told Eurosport: ‘As a country, we have created this idea of ‘Jack Grealish is going to be the greatest ever English player’. Where has that come from? It’s absolutely ridiculous.
‘I just don’t get the hype around him to be perfectly honest. Then you get the ones who come up and say ‘ah, he reminds us of Gazza’.
‘Please don’t do that now when you see games against Republic of Ireland and Belgium… when we’re 2-0 down and he’s running around and wants to have around 35 touches to then pass the ball to somebody.
‘All of a sudden it’s, ‘that makes him good because everyone wants to foul him’. He has too many touches.
‘Someone put a stat up about what he’s done and what he’s achieved already and captioned it ‘Andres Iniesta hadn’t done that at his age’. Please don’t go down that road. I don’t know why we keep doing it.
‘Now we have him pinned as the one who is going to win England the Euros. He has not played against a decent team. As much as Belgium are meant to be the team ranked number one in the world they are poor. You just know in two years time they have got no one coming through.’