They say in football that in times of trouble you must call on your best players, the big game performers, the individuals that can take a game by the scruff of the neck and get you the points.
These players are the trustworthy ones, the ones that the manager puts all of their faith in and ultimately the ones that lead by example.
At Aston Villa, however, the player to do this is one of the most untrusted in the squad, Jack Grealish.
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Apparently more at home in a nightclub than on the pitch, the 20-year-old has faced much criticism for his apparent lack of commitment to a side that are in a desperate position at the foot of the Premier League table.
Following the 4-0 defeat to Everton two weeks ago, Grealish was spotted in a Manchester nightclub much to the disgust of the manager and the passionate Villa fans who simply expect more from their talented midfielder.
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The incident has seen him banished to the Under-21’s for the ‘foreseeable future’ and is the third occasion eyebrows have been raised about his off-field behaviour.
Former manager Tim Sherwood warned him about his professional duty after photographs of him emerged apparently taking ‘Hippy Crack’ (Nitrous Oxide) back in April. A second warning then followed in June after another snap showing him seemingly passed out in the road whilst on holiday.
So how do you solve a problem like Jack? Do you take it all away from him and throw him into the reserves or do you nurture him and try one last time to show him the light. With a team playing in the way that Villa currently are he has a chance to shine. He can step above the others and become the best member of an average squad.
If he keeps his nose clean he can become a fan favourite. If he keeps them up he’ll be a cult hero and if he plays the way that many know he can then it might not be long before one of the bigger clubs comes knocking. If he doesn’t buck his ideas up then his career looks certain to spiral downwards and with it he might take one of the founder members of the Premier League.
The more negativity we hear about Grealish the more he moves towards the list of players like Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Adrian Mutu. All great on the pitch, but not the best people to have in the dressing room.
Since signing a three-and-a-half-year deal to manage the midlands club in early November, Remi Garde is yet to taste victory. His side have earned a good point against Manchester City, but losses to Everton and then Watford last weekend means that something has to change.
Grealish has to be this change. He’s a valuable asset and the sooner they sort out his issues and get him back into the squad the better.
Watching highlights of the Villains' 3-2 loss to Watford, it was clear that two things were lacking in the midfield, energy and creativity, Grealish brings both of these and until he pulls on the first team shirt again I for one don’t give Garde’s men much of a chance, which is a shame for such a big club.
What do you think, should the manager bring back Grealish? Leave your comments below!