'It's difficult...even though...


'It's difficult...even though we are role models and celebrities' | Grealish

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Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has been speaking to the media for the first time since he was caught breaking the lockdown rules.

Last March, photographs of the 24-year-old looking dazed and dishevelled in the aftermath of a car accident went viral, less than 24 hours after he publicly urged the public to stay at home to "protect the NHS" and "save lives".

Grealish put out a video the following day expressing his embarrassment and he admits that he still regrets his actions.

"It's obviously not something I look fondly on," said Grealish on the Sky Sports Football Show.

"At the time, right away, I knew that I had made a mistake but sometimes it's difficult for us as footballers, even though we are role models and celebrities, we all make mistakes.

"At the time, I knew that I'd made a mistake. I tried to make amends straight away by coming out and doing a public apology.

"I didn't want to hide behind a club statement so I came out and apologised myself.

"Then I tried to do stuff for the NHS and for certain charities.

"I made a big donation myself to the NHS and then I also raffled off my shirt which I scored the winning goal against the Blues [Birmingham, March 2019] in, which I'm sure everyone knows what game I mean.

"But like I said, it's not something I look back on with pride but I move on and like I said, we all make mistakes."

In total the former Republic of Ireland under-21 international donated £150,000 to Birmingham Children's Hospital while there was £55,000 raised through the shirt raffle.

He understands that being in the public gaze, he will need to behave in the right way in the future.

"I don't what it is that goes on in the media about us as footballers," added Grealish.

"It's obviously difficult for us and I know we are role models and I know myself I'm a big role model for younger children especially.

"We need to obviously watch what we're doing but yeah, obviously it's tough and we just have to try and do our best that we can and it's all about behaving in a respectable manner really."

Grealish could be leading his team out for the first match of the Premier League's return with Villa hosting Sheffield United on the same day as Manchester City entertain Arsenal, on 17 June - kick-off times are yet to be confirmed.

A win would be a huge boost for the Birmingham club who currently lie second from bottom but would rise to 16th place and out of the relegation zone with three points.

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