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‘Caused problems’ The Aston Villa view on Jack Grealish playing deeper


Jack Grealish will be under the watchful eye of England boss Gareth Southgate at Villa Park tonight.

The 23-year-old captained Aston Villa to promotion after snubbing a money-spinning move to Spurs last summer.

Grealish, though, has endured a tough start to life in the Premier League but has shown some glimpses of the brilliance which caught the eye almost every week last season.

At Spurs on the opening day, Villa’s skipper picked up the ball from on the edge of his box before marauding the length of the pitch with the ball at his feet to tee-up Trezeguet, only for the Egyptian to spurn the chance.

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Jack Grealish of Aston Villa runs with the ball

Grealish was later at fault for Spurs’ all-important second goal when Erik Lamela robbed him before the ball bounced through to Harry Kane who made no mistake.

At Bournemouth, the play-maker – who’s now operating in a deeper, central midfield role – unexpectedly misplaced passes during a disappointing first half before attempting to rally in the second period, firing a well-struck shot just wide of Aaron Ramsdale’s post while teeing up Douglas Luiz to help pull a goal back.

Dean Smith, meanwhile, says it’s “always a balancing act” with Grealish now partnering John McGinn in central midfield with the likes of Douglas and Conor Hourihane behind them.

BirminghamLive’s dedicated Aston Villa reporter Ashley Preece wants to hear from you, the fans.

Have you got a Villa-related story to tell? Do you want to get something off your chest about a recent performance? Or have you got any brilliant match day videos or photographs you’d like to share? Well, you’re in the right place.

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Our man said: “I want to get amongst the fan base who pay their hard-earned cash to follow the boys in claret and blue, giving supporters a voice about all things AVFC, whether it’s a talking point from a game or an incident or issue not being dealt with, drop me a line and get in touch. As always, up the Villa!”

You can get in touch with Ashley via the following channels:

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Twitter: PreeceObserver

Facebook: PreeceBirminghamLive / astonvillanews

Instagram: avfc_birmingham_live

Email: ashley.preece@reachplc.com

WhatsApp: 07557205119

 

Discussing Grealish’s form and how he’s adapted to playing a little bit deeper, Smith said: “What people won’t see is three or four times against Tottenham he picked up the ball on the edge of his own area and caused the opposition problems, then one time he has given it away. We have to make sure if he’s doing that he doesn’t make the mistake.

“It’s always a balancing act. At that period in time there wasn’t an out-ball for him. It was probably the team’s fault as much as Jack’s. If he had an out-ball he would have played it but, unfortunately, he didn’t so he ended up taking another touch.

 

“I thought Jack against Bournemouth gave the ball away two or three times in the first half that I wouldn’t expect him to. Second half he took it to them. He should have done better with the [headed] chance but he was starting to look like the Jack we saw in pre-season, that will help move us forward in this league.”

Smith, whose side host fellow big spenders Everton tonight, added: “I think he played deeper against Tottenham but we worked on playing deeper as a team anyway. They have players who can punish in behind your midfielders, certainly in that game the requirement of him and John McGinn was to play a little bit deeper and catch them on the counter. Against Bournemouth I thought he played more as an attacking midfielder, hence the chance he got.”

For all your latest Villa news, opinion, analysis and transfer gossip, click here





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