Jack Grealish was in good spirits after his first competitive England start, despite it ending in defeat.
England suffered a 2-0 loss to Belgium to end their hopes of reaching the final stages of the UEFA Nations League. Youri Tielemans and Dries Mertens got the goals for Roberto Martinez’s side.
Grealish was one of the brighter sparks for England, with manager Gareth Southgate saying he should be “delighted” with his performance.
Indeed, the Aston Villa star repaid the faith of his international boss, who many had thought should have given him an opportunity earlier.
Ultimately, Grealish passed his audition for more senior caps where others may have faltered. And after the game, the 25-year-old admitted that he enjoyed the opportunity, even though he was “devastated” with the result.
“I absolutely loved it,” he told Sky Sports. “This is what I have been waiting for, these are the games I have dreamed of. I have grew up all my life wanting to play for England.
“We wanted to win tonight though so I am devastated we didn’t get the win.
“I knew this was my chance to impress. These are the things I love, the pressure of wanting to do well.”
Grealish also revealed how he prepared for the game by taking inspiration from one player he lined up against on the night, among others.
“The last 24 hours I have been watching clips of my favourite players,” he said. “I do that every game. I have been buzzing.
“I watch clips of Kevin de Bruyne, Philippe Coutinho – loads – players in my positions. Done it as a little kid and still do it today, that’s what gets me going.”
Grealish names biggest England challenge
Grealish seems to warrant more international opportunities after his performance. However, he admitted that he still needs to build up an understanding on the pitch with his England teammates.
“The most difficult thing is trying to get the chemistry with the teammates,” he said.
“When you come here you only have 10 days to build that. It just clicks with some players though.”
The attacking midfielder also praised Southgate for the way he has treated him, admitting that there is a lot of competition for his role.
“The manager has been brilliant with me,” affirmed Grealish. “There are world class players in my position.”