Apparently playing GAA helped mould Jack Grealish into the player he is today 6 years ago

Apparently playing GAA helped mould Jack Grealish into the player he is today

Harder than you think.

One of the hackneyed cliches that's rolled out whenever an Irish soccer player makes the grade in England is that their GAA roots was a key factor in their career progression.

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While I'm not saying that these claims are completely false, anything to boost fitness levels must help an athlete, sometimes the statement can run a bit thin.

The Guardian though have published a piece regarding Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish which contained a few interesting anecdotes about how his GAA background helped toughen him up.

Jack Grealish 5/3/2014

The passage reads as following "there is a story that does the rounds among the compact Gaelic football community in Warwickshire of Jack Grealish’s first match for his local club, John Mitchels, which perhaps gives an indication of the steely undercurrent many at Aston Villa believe will enable him to become their leading performer this season.

Early on in his debut, the tale goes, an eight-year-old Grealish was taught a valuable lesson. Even at under-10 Gaelic football can be a tough, uncompromising sport, so when Grealish was knocked to the floor in a tussle with an opponent and demanded a free-kick, he was swiftly told to get back on his feet.

“This isn’t soccer, son,” came the referee’s response, offering a rustic reminder that, even in a blustery Birmingham field, he would need toughening up to make the grade. Grealish went on to score a goal and three points in the same game, an august return for a novice playing with boys a year older.

The article also claims that the midfielder actually scored for his team at Croke Park during a visit to GAA HQ.

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Here's hoping that the talented midfielder gets to show us his skills with the 'other' ball in the 'other' stadium in Dublin very soon.