Remi Garde will continue to keep a close eye on Jack Grealish after welcoming him back into Aston Villa’s first-team squad ahead of the Arsenal game.
Grealish was left out of the squad against Watford and Southampton for a breach of club discipline after he was photographed partying in Manchester just hours after Villa’s 4-0 defeat at Everton last month.
It was not the first time the young midfielder had hit the headlines for his off-field behaviour. Grealish was pictured earlier this year on his back in the street during a holiday in Tenerife, for which he was reprimanded by Villa.
The 20-year-old has also been pictured partying in Marbella and seen inhaling nitrous oxide, known as laughing gas or ‘hippie crack’, from a balloon in a photograph taken last year.
Grealish played for the Villa under-21 team on Monday night and has now served the punishment for his latest misdemeanour, so he will be back in contention against Arsenal on Sunday.
Garde said: “Like all other players training with the first team after the under-21 game, Jack is back and Jack is available for selection. He is in contention to start like 18 or 20 players.
“He is a talented young player, but only Jack knows if he has learned.
“I’ll still be close with him. I have the feeling Jack needs to be more disciplined, this way I feel he can improve his game.”
Garde braced for Arsenal test
Arsenal, one of Garde’s former clubs, will arrive at Villa Park on a high after beating Olympiacos 3-0 in Athens to qualify for the Champions League knock-out stages ahead of the Greek side.
Garde is aware of the size of the task facing his bottom-of-the-table Premier League team and believes the Gunners are capable of going on to win the Premier League this season.
“It is a long time ago since I was there. Probably everything has changed there – except one,” said Garde, referring to his old manager Arsene Wenger.
“I know very well the team and the players, but we will need more than that to get points from them.
“They are very comfortable away from home and have scored more away from home which shows how dangerous they are.
“They can win the title of course. Now they are qualified for the Champions League (knock-out stage) they will have to concentrate on both targets which not easy. Maybe it is the year they can fight for the title until the end.”