Jack Grealish will be out of action for a few more weeks, with manager Dean Smith taking the blame for his extended period on the sidelines.
Grealish has not played since Villa’s 0-0 draw with Brighton on February 13. The talented forward is suffering with a shin injury and has to date missed seven Premier League games. The Villans have picked up eight points in his absence to sit ninth in the top-flight standings. Although outsiders they are still in with a chance of qualifying for next season’s Europa League.
“Jack Grealish isn’t fit to play,” he said. “He’s had a setback and that will put him back a couple of weeks. Unlikely he will be back for a few weeks.”
The boss is not too concerned about the problem. But he confessed that the need to see their best player back in action probably contributed to the issue.
“We know it’s not a long term injury, we probably pushed him back a little bit too quickly,” he added.
Grealish backed for Euro 2020
Grealish made his England debut in September’s goalless draw with Denmark. He has won five caps to date and look set for a lengthy career with the three Lions.
The Birmingham-born ace missed the recent internationals due to his injury. But Smith is adamant that he will be available for the summer showpiece should Gareth Southgate wish to select him.
“I think he’s proved himself already. He will be back before the end of the season,” he added. “He’s played 20 odd games so everyone has an idea about where his form is and everything else.”
The West Midlanders produced the shock result of the season when thrashing Liverpool 7-2 at Villa Park in October. The victory occurred before the Reds’ slump that has seen them surrender their title.
And Smith was proud of the way his charges took apart the champions.
“It is the best result in terms of the quality of the team and what Liverpool have done,” he continued. “Virgil van Dijk was still in the team as well. It was an outstanding performance.
“[Liverpool have] one of the top coaches in the world and they are a top team. It doesn’t take a lot for them to get going as we saw at Arsenal.
“I’m extremely surprised by their form this season. Hopefully it [an upturn in results] will be the game after they play Aston Villa.”