Jack Grealish reacts to Jose Mourinho comparing him to Luis Figo on talkSPORT and says he is ‘desperate’ to play for England vs Scotland in mammoth Euro 2020 clash

Jack Grealish enjoyed being compared to Luis Figo by Jose Mourinho – and is now desperate to make his mark for England at Euro 2020.

The Aston Villa and England midfielder was likened to former Real Madrid and Barcelona star Figo by Mourinho on talkSPORT last week.

Grealish was delighted to hear of Mourinho’s praise for him
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Mourinho, who will become Roma boss next season, is part of our exclusive European Championship coverage this summer and was effusive in his praise of Grealish as he rated England’s chances ahead of the tournament.

“I don’t like making comparisons, especially with a Golden Ball winner, but Grealish reminds me of my Figo,” he said.

“Figo, I had him in different periods in my career but I had him in his last season as a player at Inter Milan and even in his last season he was like, ‘give me the ball and I will resolve the problems for you’.

“The way Grealish gets the ball and attacks people, gets fouls, gets penalties, he’s very powerful, I like him very much.”

Mourinho is part of talkSPORT’s Euro 2020 team and has been glowing about Grealish’s talents
Richard Pelham

Responding to Mourinho’s praise, Grealish told talkSPORT: “I heard what Mourinho said, a lot of people sent me that.

“You try not to listen to too much, whether it’s good or bad. It’s always nice when people are speaking about you, especially someone like Jose Mourinho.

“He’s done so much in the game, he’s such a popular man in football and he’s not short of football knowledge.

“Luis Figo is someone who I looked up to when I was a kid. He was an unbelievable player, but the the main thing was it came from Mourinho, who is an unbelievable manager.

“He’s done unbelievable things in the game. Hopefully one day I could play under him.”

Mourinho had said Grealish was ‘untouchable’ for England and backed him to start the Euro 2020 opener with Croatia.

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate thought differently, starting Raheem Sterling instead and leaving Grealish on the bench, a decision that was justified with the Manchester City winger scoring the game’s only goal.

Grealish is training hard and is desperate to start for England at Euro 2020
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Grealish is now desperately hoping he will make his major tournament bow when England host Scotland in a mammoth clash at Wembley on Friday.

He said: “I’m so desperate just to get on the pitch and prove to people just how good I am. These are the type of games that I thrive off.

“Not even just in this tournament, I’ve made a name for myself [in other big games] during my career. I’m desperate to be involved.

“But the main thing is the team get the three points and carry on our good start.”

Should England progress through the group stage, Portugal could well await in the last 16 and a showdown with one of the greatest players the game has ever seen – Cristiano Ronaldo.

What would it be like to face Ronaldo?

“It would be unbelievable,” said Grealish. “I’ve never played against him but he was someone I always looked up to as a kid.

“I remember one game I went to with my dad and my brother. He turned to the fans and they were giving him so much stick, he scored at Villa Park and as soon as the ball went out of play, he went (points to himself) as if it’s all about me. My dad loves it, it’s his story to tell to this day.”

For now, Grealish is not looking beyond Scotland, who boast an array of talented Premier League players – his Aston Villa teammate John McGinn among them.

Grealish will come up against one of his best pals on Friday night
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“Ginny is a player we need to watch out for, he’s so talented. But so many of their players are so talented. [Kieran] Tierney is one of Arsenal’s best players, [Andy] Robertson is one of Liverpool’s best players, there is John McGinn, Billy Gilmour, Stuart Armstrong has had a good season for Southampton and so has Che Adams.

“They have so much threat and I said to Ginny, they are going to do something similar to Wales at Euro 2016 (when they reached the semi-finals) because they have that much of a talented squad.

“It would be an unbelievable game to be involved in. Friday night at Wembley against Scotland at the Euros – it will be unbelievable.”

Grealish is in the dark over whether will be involved, however, with Gareth Southgate giving little away over what team he will select.

“Even in training we don’t do anything where we’d have any clues. We’ve just got to take it as it comes,” he said.

“Everyone is out there training their hardest, because everyone wants to play, but obviously the manager can only pick 11 players, so we’re all trying to impress him.”

And what would the 25-year-old do if England went on to win the tournament?

“Go to Vegas for ten days,” he replied, with little hesitation. “I’d be straight on a plane to Vegas and I wouldn’t be coming back! Completed it!”