Jack Grealish Injury Update
Aston Villa Head Coach Dean Smith finally confirmed today that Jack Grealish is going to be out “for a few more weeks” meaning the Villa captain will have little bearing on Villa’s run in now, if any.
In many ways, Grealish’s latest injury mirrors his previous shin-related issue in Villa’s final season in the Championship, where after supporters were told he’d miss a game/a week or two, Grealish was missing for months.
While other conspiracy theories do the rounds online, sparked perhaps by the club’s inconsistent communication on the injury over the weeks, it is a surprising in today’s level of medical and physiotherapy care, a clearer timescale hasn’t been evident from the start.
“Myself and Jack were quite optimistic to get him back a bit sooner than he probably should,” commented Smith, at his press conference before the Liverpool game. “He’s had a setback that will probably put him back a couple of weeks.”
A few weeks ago though, the company line on Grealish from Smith was they didn’t want to rush him back.
Considering how this shin saga has played out so far, you’d be surprised to see the Villa captain back by May, and there’s no doubt he’ll now be sweating on his place in the England Euros squad this summer.
As MOMS reported this week in an article reasoning Why Jack Grealish Isn’t Going Anywhere in the Summer, the Villa captain’s injuries are starting to have an air of regularity about them.
Ollie Watkins appearance record in the past three seasons in the Championship was 96%, which provides a stark contrast, when you compare Jack Grealish’s 64% record across three seasons in the Championship, when he was considered a first team regular.
Jack Grealish’s % appearances in the Championship
2016-17 – 31 appearances (67%)
2017-18 – 27 appearances (59%)
2018-19 – 31 appearances (67%)
Last season, the good news was with less games in the Premier League, Grealish was able to play the majority of them, playing 36 out of the 38 league fixtures.
Having already missed seven games this season, unfortunately it seems he’ll soon be back to the levels of previous years.
If Grealish misses the three remaining fixtures in April, he’d have played 22 out of 32 games this season – that’s 69% of games – before hopefully returning against Everton on May 1st.
So that’s what you’d deem one complete season out of the last five.
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While Grealish’s recent appearance record would be potentially off putting for potential suitors (hence don’t believe the clickbait hype of their interest), the more worrying concern is what it means for Villa.
Perhaps it is time for them to start being a bit more long-term in managing his game time?
Remember Grealish being unhappy about being substituted against Newcastle United? All because he was upset about breaking his run of playing the full 90 minutes of games. Well, there’s a bigger picture for him to consider.
It maybe wise that subbing him off more regularly would become the norm. If Villa are two or three up, with 10 minutes to go, then maybe Smith should be taking the opportunity to take Grealish out of the action, if the job is done. Such game time management of the league’s most fouled player can only help Grealish and Villa lessen the risk of injuries in the long run.
Then there’s life off the pitch, which certainly does contribute to general fitness, resilience and longevity in terms of footballing careers.
Grealish admits he likes a night out and ultimately, it’s his life, so good luck to him.
That said, while you wouldn’t want to enlist any player on the ‘Teetotal James Milner Lifestyle Plan’, it’s no coincidence that at 35-years-old, the Liverpool midfielder still has a solid appearance record despite the stiff squad competition playing at the Premier League’s top teams in recent years.
In the short-term, with Villa comfortably mid-table, at least Grealish’s absence currently allows the Villa team some proper risk-free time to galvanise as an effective unit without him, and build an identity of a team that isn’t reliant on him.
However, if Villa want to go up another level and really challenge next season, then a consistently fit and well Jack Grealish would be key, so the club needs to do their best to increase the possibility of that.