Smith gives ‘irritating’ health replace on Grealish as Aston Villa wait on return of talismanic captain


The Villans will again be without their skipper when they face Sheffield United, but their manager insists they are not a “one-man team”.

Jack Grealish stays on the sidelines at Aston Villa, and Dean Smith delivers a “frustrating” update on his talisman captain’s fitness.

A leg problem kept the 25-year-old England international out of the Villans’ last two games – a loss to Leicester and a welcome win against Leeds.

He is also missing for a trip to Sheffield United on Wednesday, with Smith still unsure whether a substantial part of his plans for a derby date with Wolves will be available on Saturday.

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What was said

Villa boss Smith told reporters when questioning Grealish, “He won’t be ready for the game [at Bramall Lane]He doesn’t travel with us.

“We’ll decide later in the week whether we can bring him to the training ground. He works with the doctor and rehab staff every day.

“It’s frustrating because he’s a top player and we would be a better team if we had him with us. But it’s one of those things – players get injured. This is how you get along without these top players.

“He only feels it when he moves, so he can train as soon as that is free. We are looking into whether we can get him onto the training field by the end of this week. “

How has Grealish done this season?

In his second season in the Premier League, a classic playmaker underscored his value to the club and the country.

England made a breakthrough on the way to the European Championship this summer, with Gareth Southgate acknowledging Grealish’s creative qualities.

Villa does the same: Her skipper has seven goals and ten assists in 23 appearances in all competitions.

He’s an important figure for Smith, but the Villa manager firmly believes he has enough talent to counteract the loss of a player.

“There was a lot of noise outside that we were a one-man team and we couldn’t win without Jack,” added Smith.

“But we firmly believed in the team we have. But we also know that we’re a better team with Jack because he’s a top notch player.

“It’s always disappointing when he’s not on the team because of his performance, but we know that without him we are more than capable of winning games.”

The bigger picture

Villa was only able to avoid returning to the championship on the last day of the 2019-20 season.

By staying up, they were able to put Grealish on a new contract and invest heavily in a number of deals that have produced rich rewards – like those for Emi Martinez, Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins.

Smith’s team are now ninth in the Premier League table. Only four points separate them from the first six and six from the Champions League places.

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