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Aston Villa skipper Jack Grealish faces fitness fight for Wolves clash

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

Villa skipper Jack Grealish was today battling to prove his fitness ahead of tomorrow’s Premier League showdown with Wolves.

Jack Grealish

Boss Dean Smith yesterday rated the 24-year-old as “50-50” to feature in the clash at Molineux due to the calf bleed which has seen him miss Villa’s last two matches.

Grealish was due to undergo further treatment last night and this morning, with Smith prepared to leave a decision on his selection until the very last minute.

“I fully expected him to have trained by now,” said Smith. “He’s had quite a big bleed on the calf from the kick and he’s been struggling with that.

“Hopefully after another 24 hours of massage we can get him on the training ground and he’ll be OK for the game. At the moment he is 50-50 as he hasn’t been on the training ground.

“If he’s fit, I’ll start him. He’s been performing to top levels at the moment, if he’s fit I wouldn’t want him on the bench.”

Smith insisted the injury concerns had nothing to do with Grealish’s omission from this week’s England squad, something he admits left his captain disappointed.

Grealish had been touted for a call-up after a string of impressive performances, which saw him nominated for the Premier League’s player of the month award for October.

Yet it ultimately wasn’t enough for the Villa skipper to convince England boss Gareth Southgate he warranted selection for upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers with Montenegro and Kosovo.

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Smith said: “Jack’s a little bit disappointed, the way he’s been playing there’s been a lot of speculation about him getting that call up.

“I understand him being disappointed, but he knows his job is to keep working hard for Aston Villa.

“Football’s a game of opinions - at the moment, all he can do is try to change the opinions of the England coaching staff.

“He can’t control what they think, all he can do is control his performances on a match day for Aston Villa.

“As a lad, he’s matured, I had no qualms in giving him the captaincy.

“I waxed lyrical about him an awful lot. His performances over the last month and a half have shown me what he’s capable of in this league.”

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher
@mjmarr_star

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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