After an impressive season last year in the Premier League and rescuing Aston Villa from relegation, Jack Grealish was tipped and rumoured to join Manchester United. He could have added to the strength of the Red Devils with his ability to play as a left-wing or attacking midfielder. The arrival of Donny Van de Beek puts an end to rumours linking Jack Grealish to Manchester United. Grealish later committing his future to Aston Villa by signing a long term contract. He was being tipped for greater things but shockingly the Villa captain committed himself to Villa Park until 2025. Grealish joined Villa as a local boy aged six and has developed into one of the country’s finest players. Recently, winning his first cap for England after making his long-awaited debut from the bench in the Denmark draw. This scout report will have a look at his attributes and style of play. The tactical analysis will focus on the playing style of Jack Grealish and also, how his abilities are used in Dean Smith’s tactics.

Playing Profile

Grealish is a pacey winger with great ability to run with the ball and dribble past defenders. He features in the front three or attacking midfielder role for Dean Smith’s Aston Villa side. He can be used as a right-winger too. This shows his versatility and ability to play in different roles. With the arrival of Ross Barkley in the attacking midfield position, Dean Smith has a fixed and consistent role for him as a left-winger this season. The majority of Villa’s attack is from the left flank and Grealish is at the center of these attacks from the left side.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
This heat map shows, Grealish covered the length of the pitch in his role as a left-winger, while the majority of his action came in the attacking third and penalty box areas,
He also covers 50% of the width of the pitch on his right. This is due to his ability to enter the box and make inward runs towards the goal. He likes to get into central areas and threaten opponents’ defence. He falls back but doesn’t go deep into the defensive third as he always looks for the opportunity to open up a quick counter-attack on the opponent. He gets into the defensive half but positions himself close to half-line in order to ignite a quick counter-attack. This ability of Grealish is vital in Smith’s counter-attacking tactic.

Statistical profile

To get into Greaish’s analysis, It is important to understand the statistics to further understand his attributes and contribution to Villa’s attack. In the previous Premier League season, Grealish has 8 Goals and 6 assists. But this season, he has been more impressive in the Premier League scoring 4 goals and 4 assists. He has 1 goal in the Carabao Cup which was a superb volley from the edge of the penalty box. He ranked second in assists so far this season behind Kane.
He ranks 5th in Shot assists (2.6/90 minutes). He leads the stats for most touches in the penalty area (8.16/90 minutes). Also, he is most successful in the Premier league for dribbles (10.76/90 minutes) with 68.97% successful dribbles. This shows Grealish ability to run and dibbles past defenders and get inside the penalty box. The 25-year-old is already proficient at being able to progress the ball up the pitch with an impressive record for progressive runs(5.2/90 minutes) and progressive passes(6.68/90 minutes) ranking 3rd and 7the respectively. From the above metrics, it is evident how Grealish is influential in Villa’s attack.
Now, let’s have a look at his defensive stats. He engaged in 18.37/90 minutes offensive duels with the most success rate of 56.57% ranking him 4th, this indicates his ability to win the ball higher up the pitch and attack quickly. He ranks 5th for recoveries in the final third (2.23/90 minutes) and 15th for Counterpressing recoveries (2.78/90 minutes). Another important indicator of his ability to win the ball back higher up the pitch.

Dribbling & attacking ability

Jack Grealish’s dribbling ability combined with his agility makes him a perfect winger who likes to cut inside the box from the wing and create problems for the opponents. The modern game has evolved where wingers fallback deep with an intention to ignite a quick counter-attack. Grealish’s such dribbling skills and pace helps Villa in their counter-attack. Grealish also has a great vision and passing ability to switch flank, pull a long ball towards striker or quick short pass, and link-up with midfielders during the counter-attack. We can look into his passing and vision ability later. Along with dribbling, he has so many other options to take Villa’s attack forward. Agility, balance, composure, and ball control of Grealish during his Dribbling brings a flair in his game. He keeps the ball close to his feet and dribbles and cut past defenders. He is great with his first touch which gives him a headstart and control on the ball to start dribbling after receiving the pass.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Grealish receives the ball from Ollie Watkins and dribbles past Alexander-Arnold and takes a shot that deflects off Fabinho and travels inside the net. He dribbles towards the left and cuts inside to his right to beat Alexander-Arnold and quickly goes for the shoot aiming far post. This shows Grealish’s dribbling skills and ability to create space for himself with such skills.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Grealish wins possession in the defensive third from Hélder Costa and starts dribbling to attack on the counter making Costa chase back,
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Following this, Grealish beats Mateusz Klich in the midfield and takes the ball into the attacking half with Costa still chasing him.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Later, he dribbles past Robin Koch with Costa still chasing him. This shows how fast Grealish is with the ball.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Koch retrieves and tried to stop Grealish from entering the penalty box but Grealish cuts inside and gets into the penalty area and dribbles past Koch again.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Here, Grealish should have taken a shot but he overdoes it and continues to dribble inside the box with an intent to have clear shot on goal but his shot gets blocked later and such run from Grealish ends without troubling the scoresheet. This event shows pace with the ball and dribbling ability of Grealish.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
This is another example of a superb run from Grealish in the penalty box post a beautiful link-up with Ollie Watkins. He dribbles into the box to provide a second assist in this Aston Villa goal against Fulham.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Following the link-up, he dribbles in the penalty box and passes sideways to John McGinn at the center. Mc Ginn guards the defender and provides an assist to Conor Hourihane who scores. This highlights the major contribution of Grealish link-up and dribbling skills to get a goal for Aston Villa.

Passing and Vision

Passing ability is another best attribute of England International. His vision and passing range help him to play various roles in the midfield, he can play the attacking midfield role(#10 role) in a 4-2-3-1 formation or a left-centre midfielder role too in 4-3-3 formation if Deam Smith’s tactics need it. This gives Smith options to switch tactics in the middle of the game with such versatility offered by his captain. His short passing ability creates link-up with other teammates. His 1-2 quick short passing helps to create chances in Villa’s attack. This proves that he can be a great asset in a tiki-taka system too. His long passing ability helps to switch flanks, cross into dangerous areas in the penalty box or long ball in the final third from defence towards striker or overlapping runs of the fullbacks. Such a dynamic player can be a great fit in Gareth Southgate’s England side.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Grealish penetrates with pace into the box with a great run and receives a pass from left-back, Matt Targett. He doesn’t lose control and holds to execute a perfect pass towards Trézéguet’s late run into the box. This was well-worked attack by Aston Villa with their captain at the center of it. Trézéguet lacked the final finish but Grealish proves how threatening he can be on getting inside the box.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
This proves, Grealish ability to switch flanks and catch opponents defenders out of position with an attack from another side. Here, Grealish with control on the ball looks up for his player before switching the ball to the opposite flank. This shows the vision and passing range of Grealish.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Grealish fakes to shoot and beats Van Dijk and Fabinho. He is aware of the run made by Ross Barkley.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Following this, Grealish smartly passes in between Van Dijk and Fabinho towards Barkley who gets in a dangerous position to shoot. Barkley’s shot is wide and fails to score with a lack of finishing this time. Grealish again did the hard part right beating the two center-backs and opening up Liverpool’s defence. This incident highlights Grealish awareness and intelligence in his passing.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Again, Grealish fakes a pass forward towards Matt Targett and plays it square towards Conor Hourihane. Again, showing great presence of mind and composure during Aston Villa’s buildup play.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
This is an example highlighting Grealish linkup with Ollie Watkins to open up Fulham and take the attack forward. Grealish runs straight after passing sideways to Watkins who returns it back in a single touch as the ball was perfect and Grealish was fast to get into an empty pocket. This highlights Grealish’s ability to pass and run beyond defenders.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Another incident of Grealish combining with Hourihane in the attacking third. Grealish trying to link up with Hourihane and beat defends in the box with his run.

Off the ball movement

Grealish has the ability to find space and use his pace to make runs in behind. He has great acceleration and can accelerate into free space quickly. Such acceleration helps Grealish to beat defenders with off the ball movement and get in a position ahead of the defender to receive the pass. His control on the ball plus off the ball movement makes him a lethal player in the attacking third. This combined with his dribbling, passing, and finishing skills makes him a complete package and most dangerous in Villa’s attack.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Here, Grealish is making an overlapping run towards the left flank while Barkley is holding the ball. Barkley goes for the shoot with two defenders blocking him. Grealish was free and could have beaten the defender with his amazing pace to get into the box. Barkley lacked quality and awareness to provide the ball towards the run of Grealish.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
This shows Grealish off the ball movement during a cross. He has already beaten Alexander-Arnold and is well ahead of him to receive the cross. Cross was received by Watkins on the nearer side and his effort hit the post. This proves Grealish ability to get into the box during key passes or cross highlighting his off the ball movement ability.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
Grealish is away from Alexandar-Arnold and beats him with his off the ball movement. Grealish is quick to run in the empty space beyond  Alexandar-Arnold. It’s difficult for the young defender to chase back Grealish and he goes on to score for Aston Villa. It highlights Aston Villa’s attack on the counter with the use of Grealish’s off the ball movement.
Jack Grealish 2020/21 - Scout report-tactical analysis tactics
The Yellow trace of Grealish indicates the area covered by Grealish to enter the box beyond Fulhams defenders. Here, Grealish beats Fulham’s backline with his off the ball movement. He receives an excellent long ball from John McGinn in the penalty box and scores. Here, Grealish’s off the ball movement and McGinn’s vision combining in the Aston Villa attack.

Defensive implications

The defensive attributes of Grealish are on the weaker sides. He is good with offensive duels, counter-pressing, recoveries in the attacking third but weaker in the defensive half. He keeps a low profile in terms of interceptions, heading, tackling skills, and defence awareness. The defensive role in Aston Villa restricts him to get deeper and expose his defensive attributes. His role is more to create a chance on the counter post recovering the ball from Villa’s opponents.

Conclusion

Jack Grealish has evolved into a much better player and there is an upward trend in his performance so far this season. His versatility, flair, leadership makes him a much sought out player, and deserves a consistent place like Aston Villa in England squad and also start games for England. The nature of his game makes him fit into various formation and systems of the modern world. He is an interesting prospect and will grow more with his international experience representing England and can get into bigger teams later in his career during his peak.