Sports

England forward Jack Grealish said he took a trip to New York and relied on his favourite Christmas movie “Home Alone 2” to deal with the disappointment of exiting the World Cup in the quarterfinals.

Gareth Southgate’s side will take to the pitch for the first time since their 2-1 World Cup defeat to France on Thursday against Italy.

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England were knocked out by France on Dec. 10, and the City midfielder had just 10 days away before marking his return of club football, which he used to tour the city and watch his favourite Christmas movie in order to shake off the heartbreak.

“I’ve got an addictive personality,” Grealish told reporters. “The missus always says to me, even when I like a song, I just keep on playing it. I love that film [Home Alone]. I’ve watched it so many times. It’s on every Christmas, isn’t it?”

“I loved it. I love Christmas. My mum’s always made Christmas so special for me growing up. I’ve always wanted to go to New York around Christmas time but, obviously, because of football we’ve never been able to. It was a bucket-list moment. Then I went back into training on the Wednesday and we were playing Liverpool on the Thursday in the [Carabao] Cup.”

After not doing any training during his New York trip, Grealish said he was suprised to be involved in the squad for Manchester City‘s 3-2 victory against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

He has enjoyed a marked improvement in form under Pep Guardiola this season. He struggled to get consistent minutes following his move from Aston Villa in 2021, but the 27-year-old said that improved fitness and feeling like an important player have contributed to his success at the Etihad.

He said: “I was speaking to Rio Ferdinand and he asked me, ‘Are you doing anything different?’ I’m actually not. I feel I am in my best form, especially since I moved to City. It’s confidence, really. I just feel a bit like I did when I was at Aston Villa. I feel one of the main players.

“It’s the fittest I’ve been and that comes down to playing a lot of games on the bounce, playing in big games, making an impact, scoring against Arsenal and United, getting assists at Chelsea away and then Arsenal at home in the [FA] Cup. It means a lot to me, and to my confidence, that the manager’s trusting me in these big games.”

Grealish has played 29 times for England and is in the squad for their Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy on Thursday and Ukraine on Sunday.

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