Grealish has lit up the English second tier this season, captaining his boyhood club to Wembley with six goals and six assists along the way.
Having struggled in two previous Premier League seasons, there is widespread belief that Grealish is now ready to flaunt his audacious talents on the grandest of stages – and today’s game serves as a fine audition.
Holloway has kept a close eye on the attacking midfielder this term, watching on in awe as an EFL pundit for Quest.
Amid suggestions Grealish will be playing in the Premier League next season, whether that is in midlands claret and blue or not, Holloway tells Express Sport: “I don’t know what his future holds but all I know is that if you play young players they get better.
“Credit to Villa, they played him [in the Premier League] and they got relegated, but you’ve got to show faith in these boys.
“I’ve got no doubts he’ll play in the Champions League. Wouldn’t it be great if that was with Aston Villa? I don’t know – but I do know how good he is and that he can grace any level.
“Put him in any top six English side – could he play for them and make them a better team? Yes he would.”
Tottenham were rumoured to be in for the Englishman last summer but Mauricio Pochettino reportedly halted the deal because of concerns over his character.
Past stories about his immaturity seem a distant memory now, though, epitomised by the 23-year-old’s behaviour in March’s Second City derby.
After being attacked by a fan who encroached on the pitch, which felled him, Grealish went on to score the winner.
Asked which top-six side Grealish suits most, Holloway retorts: “He suits Aston Villa. But he can play for any of them. If you put him in a team that dominates the ball, how good would he be in and around that box.
“I think the bloke’s a Rolls Royce. He’s a very different type of player; he floats with things, he lends it, he gets it back. He doesn’t rush around, he doesn’t catch your eye because he’s perpetual motion, he’s just so clever.
“His brain is so brilliant and he floats. It’s so frustrating to play against him because you try to get near and you can’t. All of a sudden he’ll drop a shoulder like the old fashioned rugby players – you think he’s going that way and he goes the other way. It’s beautiful to see.
“I think he’s mature, he’s playing with passion for the club he loves. He oozes class. He reminds me of a beautiful fire at Christmas and a little touch of Baileys on a table right by the fire. You watch that ice melt and that’s what Jack’s like. He’s just pure beauty.
“He’s mature and has come of age, a bit like Raheem Sterling nowadays. He’s his own authentic self, a wonderful kid and plays with a smile on his face.
“I would pay to watch him play myself, and that’s the biggest compliment I can give him. In fact, I’d pay to watch him play with my grandchildren in my back garden – that’s how good he is.”
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