Jack Grealish Injury Latest
Aston Villa supporters have been there before when it comes to ambiguous Jack Grealish injury news updates. The desperation to see their talented captain back in the team leads to wishful thinking, mix that with public facing injury updates from a Head Coach who wants to keep his opposite number guessing up until kick-off time, and you’re left with false hope and a limbo status to the actual reality of the injury.
A couple of seasons ago, Grealish’s vaguely detailed shin injury transformed from something that apparently just needed a few weeks rest into a three-month absence of the player.
The first clue this week that Grealish probably wouldn’t be fit for the upcoming Spurs game was not being included in the England squad. His selection was a long shot anyway, considering he had been out a month, but a surprise inclusion would have signalled he was 100% ready to go for Sunday evening’s clash with José Mourinho men.
In Dean Smith’s pre-match press conference before this weekend’s game, the update on Grealish made you think you’d be better off reading the tea leaves in the bottom of your morning tea to fathom whether the Villa captain had a chance to play.
“I’m hopeful for Jack. I’ll leave it until Sunday morning,” said Smith. “He’s not trained with us at the moment, but he’s pain-free and he’s running. Ultimately, it will be his decision.”
When Smith says, he’s not trained with the team at the moment, does that mean he hasn’t been training with the team for the past month?
Surely, that means he won’t be up to speed, despite running pain free (which is a very basic first step to fitness).
It’s ‘his decision’? What? To play? Despite not training with his teammates for a month?
The upcoming international break week would give Grealish a proper week’s training with the majority of the team, so that surely is the initial starting point to lay the foundations for his return. Smith certainly more than hinted at it in his press conference.
“I’m hopeful, but if he doesn’t play [against Spurs] I can pretty much guarantee he’ll be ready for the Fulham game after the international break. I know Aston Villa fans will be fretting over whether it’s a long-term injury.”
Of course, the game after the next one, logically always offers a better chance of the player returning, and it’s certainly true in this case. Although, we’ve been down the path of false hope recently with Ross Barkley, in terms of ‘guaranteed returns’.
Earlier in the season, Barkley had been slated to return against WBA on December 20th. Smith, after making the excuses for the player’s absence on the teamsheet for the West Midlands derby, then stated, “He certainly will be fit for Palace”.
Six days later, the midfielder missed the Boxing Day clash with Crystal Palace and wasn’t seen back in a Villa shirt until later the next month, after the enforced Covid break.
“It’s not a long-term injury,” insisted Smith, once again of Grealish’s current situation, despite it already being at the five week stage now.
While you can understand the cat and mouse games Smith has elected to play, will somebody like Mourinho really be too concerned?
Hopefully though, Grealish can return back straight after the international break (if there isn’t a sneaky return against Spurs), as both Villa’s fixture list toughens up and the competition for a place in the England Euros squad will have reached the end game stage.
Other Villa Injury News
As expected, Smith confirmed that Villa have lined up a friendly match in the international break to give Wesley a chance to work on his match sharpness, now that he is back in full training. Such news encouragingly suggests we will potentially see the Brazilian in a match day squad some time in April.
Meanwhile, there’s good news that Bertrand Traore will return to training ahead of the Spurs clash, after his run in with an advertising board during the Newcastle United game.
“Bert is having an injection and he will train on Saturday, so he should be available for selection come Sunday,” confirmed Smith.
“He got a whack in the rib, took a tumble over the boards and he was in a lot of pain. He went to hospital but thankfully there was no bleed. He’s just had some painkillers for that and he’ll be ready to train Saturday morning.”