Men's Team

Grealish: Euro 2020 one of the best experiences of my life

Grealish: Euro 2020 one of the best experiences of my life
Jack Grealish won’t forget the summer of 2021 in a hurry.

It proved to be whirlwind three months for the midfielder, who joined Manchester City last August following his headline-grabbing performances for England at EURO 2020.

Grealish was the poster boy for a Three Lions side who captured the hearts of a nation on their way to a first major tournament final in 55-years, delivering a standout performance as Gareth Southgate’s men recorded a knockout stage victory over Germany for the first time since 1966.

With the No.7 on his back, an instantly recognisable hairstyle and a swashbuckling style of play, the midfielder was a key figure in what proved to be a memorable summer of football.

And, whilst he was denied a fairy-tale ending by an agonising penalty shootout defeat to Italy, Grealish cherishes the memories of his first major tournament.

“It was unbelievable,” he said.

“Have you ever heard the quote that you don’t realise how big or how good something is until it’s gone? That’s [the case] with me.

“Now, I look back on it and — I swear — it was unbelievable. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

“It was just brilliant, England were so good to us, they did everything to make us feel at home at our hotel and at our camp.

“It was just the best six weeks ever. I absolutely loved it.

“Obviously, it was a shame that we couldn’t get over the last hurdle in the final and, obviously, losing on penalties is the worst way to lose. It’s the best way to win but the worst way to lose.

“Looking back, there are a few regrets that we couldn’t get over the line, but I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to play at a major tournament for my country.”

Grealish is one of four City players away with England for friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast.

The 26-year-old will be hoping to impress Southgate, both at international level and with his performances for his club over the next few months, as he bids to secure his place in the squad for this winter’s World Cup in Qatar.

Going one stage further than they managed at EURO 2020 will be the aim for England and the memories of that tournament – and its galvanising effect on the nation – have only renewed Grealish’s determination for success on the international stage.

“I think it was a time that brought the whole country together,” he added.

“Fingers crossed now that I can go into the next major tournament with England, that’s what I’m hoping for.

“It was obviously nice to have the whole country rooting for us as a team.  Even for myself, I’ve seen stuff on social media, and it was nice to have that support from everyone.

“But for us as a team, it was just unbelievable to have the whole country behind us.  I felt like because of how well we’d done, we’d brought everyone together.

“It was a summer that I’ll never ever forget and after leaving that summer, it makes me want to strive for more and have that feeling again, so hopefully we can.”