- Jack Grealish was on holiday with friends in Tenerife after 2014-15 season
- Pictures on Twitter appear to show Aston Villa star sprawled on the road
- Briony King takes snap of Grealish with pack of cigarettes next to him
- Grealish faces questions from Villa about what exactly those pictures show
- The 19-year-old is entitled to a holiday with friends but he has gone too far
- Pictures emerged earlier in the season of Grealish inhaling ‘hippy crack’
- Sherwood reminded him of his responsibilities after shooting to fame
Laurie Whitwell for the Daily Mail
16:30 EST, 15 June 2015
17:11 EST, 15 June 2015
They are pictures that won’t be making Jack Grealish’s holiday album. Lying on a Tenerife road, seemingly unable to pick himself up following a night of heavy drinking, he cuts a completely different figure to the one who dazzled for Aston Villa in the FA Cup.
Grealish faces questions from his club about what exactly those pictures show and disciplinary action is likely. He is a 19-year-old having fun with friends after helping to save his team from relegation but he has gone too far.
For a young man emerging into the spotlight, there are important lessons to be learned.
Pictures have emerged on Twitter – allegedly of Jack Grealish sprawled on the road while in Tenerife
The Aston Villa midfielder appears to be strewn out on the floor next to packets of cigarettes
This picture is also allegedly of Grealish, 19, who has impressed in the Premier League this season
Chances are five years ago a player could have had a night of excess abroad and been able to swerve any widespread scrutiny. Chances are a year ago Grealish could have done the same.
But the growth of social media and camera phones means those in the public eye, now including Grealish thanks to his surge into the Villa first-team, can have every movement documented and instantly shown to the world.
That is what has happened here. Briony King, a 20-year-old who lives and works in Costa Adeje, posted three pictures of a prostrate Grealish onto Twitter and wrote: ‘@JackGrealish1 had a great night, opposite my apartment in the wonderful Tenerife.’
One shows Grealish from across the street, the other two up close. He looks as if knocked out by Floyd Mayweather. Two cigarette packets lie around his body. It is not pleasant viewing and actually quite shocking.
In less than 24 hours her post had been retweeted more than 5,000 times. She defended herself from angry accusers by detailing her story.
She said she arrived back with her boyfriend Adam Grocott, a nightclub DJ, at 8am on Saturday morning following his shift and saw a person sprawled in the street across from their apartment. The couple did not, according to them, know this was Grealish. ‘I thought it was a p***ed up tourist,’ she wrote.
Grealish was allegedly pictured earlier in the evening wearing the same t-shirt as the photos above
The youngster responded on Twitter by posting: ‘Me n my best pal @olliepriestley, I’m on the floor apparently’
They claim they tried to wake him up but failed as he was ‘paralytic’, so instead took pictures finding the situation ‘funny’. ‘Seeing people in this state is hilarious, should learn how to handle their drink,’ she said.
Grocott uploaded two of the pictures to Facebook on Monday afternoon and penned the anecdote, calling Grealish simply ‘this guy’. Later in the evening his girlfriend apparently recognised who it was after seeing a picture of Grealish in the same t-shirt posing with her friend Richard Griffiths Foster, a Villa fan, earlier that same night. That prompted her Twitter post to less than 300 followers. It spread like wildfire.
Grealish will be realising that his newfound fame, won through a series of fine performances, a tug-of-war over his national allegiance, and a deep connection with the Villa fans, comes at a price.
Nobody can begrudge him a holiday in the sunshine, or a night of sufficient alcohol to get drunk. But the pictures were worrying as they appeared to show a loss of control.
The midfielder enjoyed a fine 2015 with Aston Villa and impressed in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley
Regardless that it is unclear how long he was alone in the road for there is an inherent risk if, as is alleged, he was too far gone to appreciate his surroundings.
He cannot allow such danger to arise. Fortunately no harm was done. He will board his flight on Tuesday fully fit but should know not all bystanders will just take a picture and leave him be.
Grealish’s body – large calves, toned physique – is his tool. He is a prime athlete of finessed balance and in the weeks building up to the FA Cup final undertook extra gym sessions on his days off to reach peak fitness. But when departing from a strict regime he must think in moderation.
Discretion is another virtue. Grealish, 19, has been in the Canary Islands with friends he grew up alongside, and he should treasure those bonds. His brother Kevan travelled, as did Callum Robinson, another talented Villa academy graduate.
Grealish is in Tenerife after a breakthrough season with Aston Villa and posted this picture earlier on Sunday
Villa youngster Grealish pictured with model girlfriend Sasha Attwood who he has been with since the age of 14
Grealish struggled in his final game of the 2014/15 season – the FA Cup final defeat against Arsenal
That invaluable trust should lead to a tight circle where embarrassing incidents can be kept out of the public eye. There are places other than Tenerife that would ensure similar privacy.
In April, Grealish found a hotel room is not impenetrable if information is shared to the wrong people. A picture taken a year prior showing him inhaling nitrous oxide, otherwise known as hippy crack, through a balloon was leaked to the Sun.
Manager Tim Sherwood admonished Grealish but did not levy a fine because it happened some time ago. His words then remain relevant now. ‘Perhaps a year ago no-one wanted to know Jack Grealish,’ Sherwood said. ‘But now he realises people have taken an awful lot of notice — and he wanted that. If you’re a professional footballer you want to be noticed.
Jack Grealish is being chased by Martin O’Neill who wants him the play for Republic of Ireland
‘It doesn’t matter how young he is, he is now in a responsible position as a professional footballer. To be honest there is only one form of discipline, that’s self-discipline. Jack has to take that on board.
‘I think he’s a fantastic talent, he’s willing to work hard at it, he will be a big player for the future of Aston Villa football club.’
Despite these pictures, that remains the case. His talent brought him a new £20,000 per year contract last October as Villa fought off a host of Premier League clubs circling his signature. It is the kind of money to make a young man’s head spin.
O’Neill was disappointed at dropping points to Scotland and has intensified his chase for the Aston Villa star
The 19-year-old played for Ireland at Under 21 level but is yet to make a decision on his international future
But he receives love and support from his dad Kevin and mum Karen and he, in turn, looks after them. He also enjoys incredible goodwill from Villa supporters because he was one of them since the age of four.
He is thoughtful, doting on his two younger sisters, and giving a shirt to fan in a wheelchair after victory at Tottenham Hotspur. He presented an award to his cousin’s junior team.
It is a shame these pictures show a different image. He cannot allow it to happen again.