Remi Garde says Jack Grealish is an “important player” after the youngster returned to the Aston Villa first-team squad.
The talented 20-year-old had been forced to spend time with the development squad after being pictured in a nightclub following a 4-0 defeat to Everton last month, but Garde has now revealed his punishment over.
Speaking to AVTV, the Frenchman said: “Jack is back with the group now. I am pleased to have him back because he’s an important player for the group.
“I am also pleased regarding how Jack trained over the past two weeks with the under-21s. Jack is back. I am happy for that – and for the team.”
Grealish had been banished from his club’s first-team training sessions after images of him out in Manchester emerged following Villa’s thrashing at Goodison Park on November 21.
Garde called his actions “not of a professional standard” in explaining his punishment and the midfielder subsequently missed the defeat to Watford and the draw with Southampton over the past two weekends as a result.
Grealish played all 90 minutes in the under-21s’ 2-1 win over Derby on Monday and is now back training with the first-team squad ahead of the bottom club’s home clash with Garde’s old club Arsenal this weekend.
It is not the first time Grealish’s off-field antics have produced unwanted headlines for Villa since he burst onto the scene last season in their run to the FA Cup final.
Earlier this year he was reprimanded by his club after an image of him lying on his back in a Tenerife street spread on social media while on another occasion he was also pictured appearing to inhale nitrous oxide, otherwise known as ‘hippy crack’, from a balloon.
Garde’s predecessor Tim Sherwood had urged Grealish to “‘knuckle down” when he was at the Villa Park helm, and his form this year has waned as the midlands club have slumped to the division’s basement.