THERE will be a great deal of Brummie pride for me in seeing Jack Grealish playing in a Champions League final.
Even though Jack is an Aston Villa man — and their former captain to boot — and I’m a lifelong Birmingham City fan, it’s great to see him thriving at the very highest level.
In Grealish and Jude Bellingham — ‘one of our own’ for us Bluenoses — my home city has two genuine world-class players and that is wonderful to see.
Jack has really come alive in his second season at Manchester City.
I kept hearing about him being overpriced last season. His £100million price tag was repeatedly used as a stick to bash him with — but that has all gone quiet now.
It looks as if Jack feels he belongs at City now and I can see him being a regular starter for the club and England for three or four years at least.
At Villa, he was the main man. Everything went through him but now he has learned how to be a real team player.
He makes goals, scores goals and tracks back to put in a defensive shift too.
You can see when he celebrates goals how much he is a part of it, how he has bought into that team ethic.
I know Jack well, he’s a cracking kid from a nice family and he has worked hard to get to the top of the game.
You used to hear about him getting into scrapes off the field but, at 27, he’s grown up and learned lessons. You don’t hear those stories about him any more.
He is clearly a lad who still likes to enjoy himself — but he is doing that in the right way and at the right times now.
City chief Pep Guardiola has really developed him — much like he has done with other English talents, like John Stones and Kyle Walker.
They have all improved and become so adaptable under him.
Phil Foden is the one who is missing out on starts now.
A few months ago, at the World Cup, the nation was crying out for Phil to start but now he can’t get a regular game for City and that is largely because Jack’s form has been so good, he’s become undroppable.
I can’t see any other outcome other than a City win against Inter in Istanbul — it would be a massive shock if Guardiola’s men do not complete the Treble.
Inter are a decent team but they are simply not at the same level and their route to the final was a bit freakish, they haven’t beaten any of the really major teams.
I’d love to see Grealish play a starring role in the biggest game of his life so far.
He’s got the sort of crowd-pleasing quality where you can imagine him playing for Real Madrid one day.
And 19-year-old starlet Bellingham is likely to be heading just there this summer. Can you imagine two Brummies at the Bernabeu?
For now, though, there is nowhere better to be than City.
They’re the best team in the world and I expect them to prove it in Istanbul.