Aston Villa winger Jack Grealish has praised the impact assistant manager Roy Keane has had on his game, claiming the Manchester United legend has helped him improve since joining Paul Lambert's coaching staff at Villa Park.
The 19-year-old is enjoying a stellar breakthrough campaign in the Villains first-team in 2014/15 after impressing the management duo during pre-season, featuring in all three of the club's Premier League matches so far.
Whilst Grealish is yet to be given the nod from the start, his full debut is unlikely to be very far away, after excelling in his cameo appearance against Hull City prior to the international break, and is believed to be in contention for a starting spot when Villa take on Liverpool at Anfield this weekend.
His fine form - off the back of a loan spell with League One outfit Notts County last season - has also attracted admiring glances from a growing list of admirers, with the Birmingham Mail reporting that Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have all been keeping tabs on the talented teenager's progress.
Grealish is actually out of contract with Aston Villa next summer and has so far failed to reach agreement over an extension, despite the fact that a four-year deal is already on the table.
However, the Republic of Ireland youth international has allayed any fears of a possible departure, reiterating his commitment to his boyhood club, who he wants to continue representing for many more years in the future.
With his feet firmly on the ground, Grealish insists his focus is fully on the short term, and hopes to continue developing his game further under the guidance of Lambert and - in particular - Keane.
Jack Grealish quotes:
"To be honest, at the beginning, I didn't even think Roy would like me because of the type of player I am," he revealed. "On the first day of training, I didn't start the session that well and he tapped me on the shoulder after a half an hour.
"He said: 'Are you alright?' and I replied 'yeah'. And then he asked me: 'When do you start training then?'
"That put me under pressure straight away then. He was only bantering but I wondered was he being a little bit serious here. However, Roy's been brilliant for me and we now got on great."
Roy Keane impact
Keane's reputation often goes before him but Grealish insists that he's had a really positive impact on the training ground and personally is looking forward to continuing to work with him in the future.
"Every time I'm around the squad, he's flooded me with confidence and he's one of the main reasons for my success," he added. "So I thank Roy for all his help.
"Roy and the manager have showed that they really believe in me. My confidence is sky-high at the moment and I just hope to get my first start in the Premier League soon."
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms