Former Aston Villa defender Alan Hutton says that he believes Jack Grealish can “damage any team” this season.
Grealish played the full 90 minutes in Villa’s 0-0 draw with West Ham on Monday evening but struggled to create many chances. After the game, his manager, Dean Smith, admitted that he felt the 24-year-old’s performance wasn’t to the level he expects from the England Under-21 international.
In an interview with Football Insider, the ex-Scotland international – who spent eight years at Villa Park between 2011-2019 – admitted that he would like to see his former teammate play in a more advanced position in Dean Smith’s midfield.
“He [Grealish] had some good points within the game [vs. West Ham] such as the cross to Wesley where he should have really scored, so you can see the flashes of brilliance that he can produce, it’s just about doing that week-in-week-out now,” said Hutton.
The 34-year-old continued: “Jack wants to be on the ball always everywhere, he wants to make things happen and make the team tick that’s the type of player he is, so occasionally you find he may drop a little bit deeper to make things happen and I think Dean Smith and even myself would like to see Jack hurt teams in higher areas.
“So obviously between him and John McGinn they’re like two No.8s playing up high and with a sitting midfielder it allows Jack to push up further, that’s where I would like to see him as with his ability he can damage any team in the league.”
Despite a slow start this season, there’s every chance that Grealish will start to find his feet for Villa. He showed flashes of brilliance on Monday evening, providing Wesley with a good chance that the frontman ultimately squandered, which proves his quality in the final third. Indeed, he provided the second-highest number of key passes (2, per WhoScored) in the game as well as making the joint-highest amount of dribbles (3), so clearly had an impact offensively.
Even looking at the season as a whole, he’s made the most amount of key passes and has been fouled the most per game of any Villa player, so does look to be driving at the opposition. With that in mind, Hutton could be right.
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