Jack Grealish has spoken of his “deep embarrassment” but now hopes to draw a line under the controversy surrounding him agreeing to visit a friend during the coronavirus lockdown in March.
Police were called to the Dickens Heath area of Solihull to reports a Range Rover had crashed into two parked cars, with pictures emerging online of the Aston Villa captain at the scene in slippers and a bright blue hoodie.
The midfielder later said he was “deeply embarrassed” by the incident – less than a day after launching a video appeal for people to stay at home during the Government-enforced lockdown.
The in-demand Villa star soon apologised for the incident – but it was not enough to prevent him receiving a public backlash, with Harry Redknapp among those calling for strong actions.
And in an interview with The Guardian, he said: “I knew straight away that I had to come out and apologise myself, which I wanted to do; I didn’t want to hide behind a club statement.
“I am old enough now and mature enough to know that I’d done wrong.
“I know I am a footballer but I’m still human and we all make mistakes and straight away I knew I’d made a mistake. I’m also a role model as well to a lot of people out there, especially young children who might look up to me.
“So I try to act in respectable manner but since then I have tried to keep my head down, work hard and do as much charitable work as possible.”
Grealish, who has donated £150,000 to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and raised a further £55,000 for the NHS by raffling off one off his Villa shirts, accepts his misdeeds will always be placed under greater scrutiny.
He added: “That’s just the way things are in this world that we live in. Everyone knows when you do something it’s always going to be the bad stuff that gets out there.
“That’s what I have to deal with. I respect my job, absolutely love what I do, and wouldn’t change it for the world.”