Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has insisted that Player of the Year contender Jack Grealish must be in England’s Euro 2020 squad.
The 25-year-old made his mark last season as he returned to the Premier League with his boyhood club. However, he has made even more progression this term, announcing himself on the international stage. Indeed, he would have featured in the recent international break, had he not suffered injury.
Grealish picked up a leg injury in mid-February, with Villa’s results slipping with his absence.
Smith‘s men have only won one of six Premier League games without him in the squad. However, he returned to training this week and Smith has confirmed that he has a chance to play against Fulham on Sunday.
“He trained all week, he’s only had a few sessions but seems fit enough and has certainly put himself up for selection,” the manager told his pre-match press conference.
“The performances over the last six weeks haven’t been what they were previously.
“If anyone loses a player of the calibre of Jack you are going to struggle a bit. It will be a big boost for everyone to have Jack back.
“Any team would be different with Jack in it, just like Tottenham would be different without Harry Kane.
“That’s how football is sometimes, you have players who are exceptional talents and Jack is one of them. We have certainly missed him when he’s not been there.”
Grealish has scored six Premier League goals and assisted 12 others this term. Such form led to his first England cap in a draw with Denmark in September.
But amid a scrap with the likes of Phil Foden and Mason Mount for a spot in Gareth Southgate’s team, Smith says he is expecting his star player to be in there.
The comments come amid reports from The Sun that Southgate could omit Grealish because of Jesse Lingard’s reemergence.
Smith expects Grealish England role
“Fortunately I don’t have that decision to make but I’d be very surprised if he wasn’t in the Euros squad,” he said.
“When people come to choose the player of the season this year he will be mentioned.”
Ahead of Sunday’s clash with Fulham, Villa beat the Cottagers 3-0 in the reverse fixture in September, with Grealish notching an assist for John McGinn’s opener.
Conor Hourihane and Tyrone Mings got the other goals at Craven Cottage.