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Steve Bruce backed Jack Grealish to set Wembley alight in Saturday’s Championship play-off final against Fulham.

The once-controversial winger has starred for Aston Villa since returning from injury around Christmas, and impressed in both legs of their semi-final victory over Middlesbrough.

You can listen to the Championship play-off final live on talkSPORT, 5pm kick-off. 

And his manager is delighted the 22-year-old is finally beginning to fulfil his potential.

Bruce told talkSPORT: “I honestly believe that Grealish could play for any team.

“Since Christmas he’s been nothing short of terrific for us. I’m so delighted that we’re talking about his football now rather than the other stuff.

“Hopefully he’s learnt and grown up a little bit. But he’s a talent.

“He’s got that natural ability to make things happen, he can go past people.

“It should be a great occasion for him because he’s a terrific young footballer.”

Villa, who finished fourth in the Championship, will be pushing for an immediate return to the Premier League.

And Bruce, who hasn’t always enjoyed the backing of the fans, believes he is guiding the club in the right direction.

He added: “It’s taken the supporters a little while but I hope I’m okay with them now!

“Slowly but surely they’ve realised that we’ve started turning the club around again.

“I think they can see a team in front of them that they can associate with,” he continued. “If you don’t have that, you’ve got trouble and for the last few years that’s been the problem.”

The play-off final could be worth £280 million for the victors and Bruce knows how much the game means for his club.

He said: “You can smell the hot dogs, there’s a big game in the air.

“Yesterday we had to stop training because they were all kicking lumps out of each other!

“There’s a crackle around and a big game’s on the horizon. This is why we’re all in football.”


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