Jack Grealish edging closer to Aston Villa return

Villa expect Jack Grealish to resume full training next week as the skipper nears the end of his recovery from a shin injury.

Jack Grealish needs to prove his fitness ahead of Euro 2020.
Jack Grealish needs to prove his fitness ahead of Euro 2020.

Grealish, who will miss his 11th straight Premier League match when Villa visit Everton tonight, is steadily increasing his workload after being cleared to restart individual work following a scan earlier this week.

Having already suffered one setback when on the verge of returning early last month, Villa will take every precaution possible and it is likely the 25-year-old will also sit out next Sunday’s home match with Manchester United.

But what promises to be a hectic end to the season for Villa may now play in Grealish’s favour as he looks to prove his fitness to England boss Gareth Southgate ahead of Euro 2020.

Villa’s home match with Everton, postponed from January, has finally been rescheduled for a week Thursday, May 13 (8pm kick-off).

It means Dean Smith’s men, who also visit Crystal Palace on Sunday May, 16 (noon), will play four matches in the final 11 days of the campaign.

Smith said: “It's a loading stress injury so we can't rush him (Grealish).

“Last time he broke down a bit so we're a little tentative so will probably want to take a different approach to then. I expect him to be training with us next week.”

Villa have won only two of the 10 matches Grealish has missed and Smith admitted bolstering the depth of his playing squad will be a key aim for the summer transfer window.

"I said at the start of the season our starting 11 would be very good but growing the depth of the squad is always going to be important,” he said.

"You've got to remember this is only our second season back in the Premier League and we had to rebuild the squad in the first year.

"We found it difficult and only stayed up in the last game of the season.

"We showed a real high level of consistency in the first half of this season but when some of our stars players dropped out our levels haven't been as high.

"As a result of that our results have dropped. So our job now is to continue building the depth of that squad. That was always our plan."

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