Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has expressed his admiration for Jack Grealish, whose talent he feels England are “very fortunate” to be able to call upon.
Having been superb in Aston Villa’s remarkable 7-2 victory over Liverpool on October 4, Grealish subsequently impressed for England in the 3-0 friendly win against Wales four days later.
He was then an unused substitute for the two Nations League games that followed, the 2-1 victory over Belgium and 1-0 loss to Denmark, something that has been questioned by pundits and supporters.
Giving his view on Grealish ahead of Leicester hosting Villa on Sunday, Rodgers said: “England have so many good players.
“But I think England are very fortunate to have Jack’s talent. I’ve seen the improvements in him as he’s grown as a young player.
“His personality on the field is absolutely fantastic. He’s got a real in-built brain for football.
“When he carries the ball, his awareness of his space really shows me the talent he is. He understands where space is, he gets tackled a lot, he stays on the ball a bit longer than other people and draws fouls but also draws people out of position. His weight of pass is exceptional.
“He’s a marvellous player and one of a number of players with England that are very talented. He’s a bit like James (Maddison, the Leicester midfielder), although they are not the same position.”
The thrashing of Premier League champions Liverpool made it nine points from a possible nine this season so far for Dean Smith’s Villa.
Leicester also had maximum points after three games, having won 3-0 at West Brom, beaten Burnley 4-2 and stunned Manchester City 5-2 at the Etihad Stadium, before losing 3-0 at home to West Ham last time out.
Rodgers, whose side finished fifth last term, said: “The West Ham game was another lesson for us in the Premier League where if you are just off your level, you can lose.
“But over the course of the four games, there have been so many positives for us.
“You get bumps along the way, and it’s how you respond to that. I don’t think we saw that performance (against West Ham) coming. I know we’re bitterly disappointed with it afterwards.
“It was hard because the players then go away on international duty. But we’ve regrouped again, and we’ll look to get back to the level.
“We’ve shown lots of potential, but can we get that consistency into our game? That’s a big aim for us this season.”
Regarding Villa, he added: “They have players who can give you a problem if you are not at the top of your game. They scored seven [against Liverpool] and maybe felt they could have had got one or two more.
“It showed you’ve got to have that full concentration at this level or any team can punish you. No one sees the results coming – it was like us the week before at Manchester City. If you’re not quite at the top of your game at this level, then you can come unstuck.”
While the fit-again Maddison is available for Sunday, Caglar Soyuncu and Daniel Amartey have been ruled out by injuries, and Jonny Evans, Jamie Vardy and Daniel Praet are being assessed. Wesley Fofana could make his Foxes debut.
How to follow
Leicester vs Aston Villa will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Box Office; kick-off is at 7.15pm. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
At least 146 Premier League games will be shown live on Sky Sports in the 2020/21 season. The Premier League has further increased the number of televised games this season from 200 to 231, with over half of the extra fixtures set to be shown live on Sky Sports.
Overall, Sky Sports will be showing at least 146 Premier League matches live throughout the 2020/21 season, continuing to bring you all the latest twists, turns and shocks at the home of the Premier League.
There will also be two additional midweek programmes – one will be played across the weeks commencing January 11 and 18 and the second will be in the week commencing May 10. All of these games will be broadcast live.
You can also follow the action with our dedicated live blogs on the Sky Sports website and app, and watch free match highlights from every game shortly after full-time on our digital platforms and YouTube channel.
LAST CHANCE To Land The £1m!
You read correctly. The £1m Super 6 jackpot is up for grabs for one last time this weekend. Play for free, entries by 3pm Saturday.