Jack Grealish has a special fan in the Wembley crowd shouting at the Aston Villa captain
Dean Smith was in attendance for England’s heartbreaking Euro 2020 defeat to Italy at Wembley Stadium last night.
The Aston Villa manager, who shared both the joy of winning the league play-offs and the desperation of losing a League Cup final at the stadium with his childhood club, watched the first final of a tournament major of England in 55 years.
England started the final with a goal in the opening two minutes of the game as Luke Shaw came to the far post to come home on a cross from Kieran Trippier.
But after cutting the gas in the second half, England saw Italy restore parity thanks to Leonardo Bonucci in the 67th minute.
As the game entered extra time, England boss Gareth Southgate turned to Smith’s Villa captain Jack Grealish to add much-needed creativity to his squad, with fans across the country eager to see the playmaker.
Without seeing much of the ball, Grealish couldn’t tell the difference as he did against Germany a few weeks ago in the round of 16, also at Wembley.
England will end up suffering the cruel blow of losing the final on penalties as Roberto Mancini’s Italy won the tournament thanks to Gianluigi Donnarumma save to prevent Bukayo Saka’s shot on goal. Not that Grealish took a kick.
At halftime, the Villa Smith boss was pictured with Sky Sports specialist Chris Kamara.
While it will be some time before losing a major tournament in a home penalty shootout, Villa fans can now look to the new Premier League season.
Villa’s pre-season preparations have already started ahead of their Premier League opener at Watford on Saturday 14 August.