Before the conversation turns to a big England game and Manchester City’s quest for three trophies, Jack Grealish needs to talk about 16 scoops of ice cream.
The conversation had started routinely. Grealish was asked how he had banished the disappointment of losing to France in the World Cup quarterfinals and began to explain how three days in Dubai were followed by five days in New York.
Then, in that way of hers, she smiled mischievously and there was a twinkle in her eyes. Grealish is always prepared to go off on unexpected tangents when the mood takes hold, so here he was revealing, with childish enthusiasm, how a Home Alone experience lifted the post-Qatar blues.
Christmas isn’t Christmas for Grealish unless you’ve seen Home Alone 2: Lost in New York ‘at least four or five times’ and here you were, following in the footsteps of Macaulay Culkin’s character Kevin McAllister, feeling like an extra in the set.
I stayed at the same hotel! Grealish said, referring to the iconic Plaza at the corner of Central Park. ‘You could get crazy room service, like 16 scoops of ice cream! It’s what he got in the movie! I love that movie, man. Someone had told me about it (the tour), so we went for a walk in Central Park.
Jack Grealish has revealed how a Home Alone tour helped him get over his World Cup pain
Grealish traveled to New York to revisit classic locations from the 1992 hit Christmas movie
Grealish hoped to put the disappointment of England’s World Cup elimination by France behind him.
‘I never realized how many things had been filmed there… I felt like a little tourist! I was in the back of the carriage (drawn by horses); every once in a while someone would say, “I swear it’s Jack Grealish!” So he was saying, “Dude! Fast! Speed it up!” I loved it, it was a little bucket list moment.
That ice cream, however, didn’t seem like the best idea 48 hours after I got back to Manchester. The domestic season resumed with City hosting Liverpool in the Carabao Cup, a draw he assumed would take place without his involvement given there weren’t too many gym visits.
“I felt like I needed a little break,” he explained. “I got back on the train on Wednesday and I thought, ‘There’s no chance I’m going to get involved.’ Then, in the 70th minute, he (Pep Guardiola) says: “Jack, you’re going to continue!” I was like, “fucking hell!” It was coming out of my ass!’
Didn’t you think of asking Guardiola for the use of your property in New York instead of a hotel?
‘Nah,’ he replied. ‘Then you wouldn’t have bought my ice cream, would you?’
Grealish had posted photos of his visit to New York on his Instagram page, showing fans how he had tracked every step of Kevin MacCallister’s journey through the city.
Grealish even stayed at the Park Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, used in the film, and channeled his inner Kevin by ordering 16 scoops of ice cream.
As expected, his audience is laughing out loud. There is, however, one serious point he wants to make. This has been a season like no other, with a major tournament shoehorned into an already packed schedule, but fatigue isn’t something Grealish worries about.
He has played 45 times since appearing as a substitute against Hungary on June 4. If things go his way, there could be another 22 games to go, if City go all the way in the FA Cup and Champions League, before the end of this campaign. on June 19 when England host North Macedonia.
“I’m not worried,” he insisted. ‘Playing football matches is the best thing you can do. I want to play in all possible games. When we come back it is the most important moment of the season, that is what it is all about. I feel like I’m in my best shape, especially since I moved to the city.
“Right now, I feel like when I was at Aston Villa, as one of the main players. It’s the best I’ve been, especially since I’ve been at Manchester City. It all comes down to playing a lot of games on the rebound and playing in big games, having an impact.
While the ice cream didn’t help his return to Man City, Grealish believes he is now enjoying his best form since joining the club.
‘I’m confident right now. I’m proud? Definitely! You feel good about yourself and that’s what I’m doing right now. We are winning and I am getting goals and assists and helping the team in important games. It means a lot that (Guardiola) trusts me in these big games.
Such form means it is giving Gareth Southgate a big and welcome headache ahead of the trip to Naples where England’s Euro 2024 quest begins. Qualifying, however, is not something Grealish or his teammates team members pay too much attention after the trip they’ve been on.
The ambition, without a doubt, is to win the tournament in Germany. Southgate has stayed for one last hurrah, convinced this team can live up to its potential, and Grealish is similarly minded. He was funny when he talked about bucket lists, ice cream and Home Alone, but this last point is serious.
“I was talking about Gareth staying,” Grealish said. ‘Ask anyone in that fitting room what they think of it: they’d all say the same thing. He is a brilliant manager and a brilliant person too.
We have come close many times. We are getting better. I feel like the next one could be ours.