Aston Villa boss Dean Smith says Jack Grealish is ready to be back shining in the Premier League as his side prepare for their Championship playoff semi-final second leg on Tuesday (West Brom 17/10, draw 5/2, Aston Villa 17/10 – Match Betting).
Villa will take a 2-1 lead going into the return leg at The Hawthorns, while the Baggies will also have to do without star striker Dwight Gale after he was sent off at Villa Park on Saturday.
Grealish (4/1 to score anytime) has been a key figure for the West Midlands outfit this season and was once again instrumental in helping his side secure that win over the weekend.
The 23-year-old has been by far the most fouled player in the English Football League this season, with his talents earning him plenty of attention from defenders.
Smith has been delighted with the playmaker’s impact since the manager’s arrival from Brentford earlier this season and feels Grealish is ready to be back playing in the Premier League.
“He gets kicked every game but he’s used to it,” said Smith. “It was one of the reasons Grealish spent so much time in the gym last summer. He already had mental toughness and he needed a body to match it. Now he is ready for the top flight.”
Grealish was linked with a move to Tottenham over previous January transfer windows and Spurs are believed to be keeping tabs on the Villa star, especially with doubts over Christian Eriksen’s future in north London.
Promotion could be key in making sure Grealish continues his time with his beloved boyhood club.
Odds subject to change