Grealish and Gray ready to impress, says Aidy Boothroyd

Tuesday 11 Oct 2016
England Under-21s' Jack Grealish chats to his team-mates in training
As England Under-21s wind-up their Euro qualifying campaign in the West Midlands, boss Aidy Boothroyd has being speaking about the local boys in his squad.

Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish is likely to start Tuesday’s game with Bosnia & Herzegovina, having missed last week’s win in Kazakhstan through injury.

And interim head coach Boothroyd has been pleased with what he’s seen from Grealish, who has endured a disappointing start to the season with Villa in the Championship.

England v Bosnia & Herzegovina

UEFA European U21 Championship
Group 9 Qualifier
3pm, Tuesday 11 October 2016
Banks's Stadium, Walsall FC
Live on BT Sport

"He’s been brilliant, he’s a terrific guy and we’ve had no problems whatsoever," explained Boothroyd.

"He comes in, trains and the past is the past. It’s about dealing with the present and focusing on the future. He is training hard, working well and we move on.

"All clubs got through their ups and downs and it is not what happens from them but how they respond to it and that is the same with players when they have setbacks. 

"It is important that they get back on the horse and don’t wallow in it. He doesn’t wallow too long in anything. 

"He is upbeat, has plenty to say for himself, has a lovely personality and he is playing for his country and he has to make sure he stays in this group."

Last week’s victory in Aktobe came courtesy of Leicester City man Demarai Gray’s first U21s goal, with the former Birmingham City forward catching the eye.

Demarai Gray celebrates his winner in Kazakhstan

And after working with him for the U20s two seasons ago, Boothroyd has seen the difference in Gray with the 20-year-old now playing for the Premier League title winners and in the Champions League.

"I can remember 18 months ago, he came to Toulon with us as a little, skinny thing from Birmingham and he has grown, physically, mentally and he has matured really well. 

"He looks a real threat, he is a very good player and we will make the most of it. 

"The main thing about him is that he is a worker. He wants to get better and improve his game and he is a real handful. 

“He wants to get better, wants to know, wants to have a look at his [match and training] clips, wants to see what he does in training. When you have that sort of mentality and a hard work ethic, you have got a really good chance."

Tickets for Tuesday’s game at the Banks’s Stadium cost just £1 and are available via Walsall FC’s ticket office. Click here for more details.

By Nicholas Veevers