Joe Cole believes Jack Grealish “has gone beyond potential” at Aston Villa, and that the club must build their future around the young midfielder.
Villa are enduring a difficult start to the Premier League season and sit 19th in the table after just one win in their opening nine matches.
The performances of Grealish have provided a brief respite to their troubles however, with the 20-year-old scoring his first ever top-flight goal and continuing his bright showings after making his first-team breakthrough at the end of last season.
Cole, who has joined League One Coventry City on a one-month emergency loan, believes Grealish will be “a massive player” at Villa Park over the future, and that Tim Sherwood must build his side around the midfielder.
“The gaffer loves him,” Cole told BBC Sport. “He has gone beyond potential and is an important cog in the wheel at Villa.
“When you step into that world of Premier League football the expectancy levels are massive and someone with the ability levels of Jack, the expectancy levels go up so you need to have the mentality to cope,” Cole added.
“It is important that the club build the team around him. I think they have the perfect gaffer for him.
“He is going to be a massive player for Villa over the future.”
Cole also provided his backing to under-fire boss Sherwood, who is already reporting fighting for his job at Villa Park with former Manchester United boss David Moyes or Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers tipped to take over.
“The manager has a lot of qualities he brings to the table and he is also getting better everyday,” said Cole.
“He is learning the trade himself. But he is definitely good enough to keep Villa up.”