93% pass-accuracy, 100% dribble-accuracy: Aston Villa's Jack Grealish shows his promise

The teenager's first Premier League start in last night's 3-3 home draw with Queens Park Rangers served to further underlined his potential.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood made a bold call in handing Jack Grealish his first Premier League start for the visit of relegation rivals Queens Park Rangers but the winger reward the faith shown in him with a more than encouraging showing.

Labelled one of the top flight’s most exciting prospects after making his first-team breakthrough at the start of the season, Grealish seemed primed for an important role in the since-departed Paul Lambert’s side but has instead spent most of the campaign either warming the bench or in the reserves.

Nevertheless, he’s impressed when given the chance to showcase his talent, including in two game-changing cameos in wins over Leicester and West Brom, and the clash with QPR was no exception.

While some could be forgiven for wondering whether he would be able to handle the big occasion, the emerging teenager quashed those fears over the course of the first-half, establishing himself as an integral part of Villa’s attack.

His pace, skill, passing and work rate managed to cause the visitors’ defence real problems and, while he was somewhat quieter after the breaking before going off for Joe Cole with 20 minutes left, it remained a statement-making performance.

In his 70-minute outing, the former trainee recorded an impressive 93 per cent pass completion rate, four shots, two key passes, five crosses and completed all four of his attempted dribbles, while also recovering the ball a team-leading nine times.

  Total ShotsShots OntargetTotal Key PassesTotal PassPassing AccuracyTotal CrossesAccurate CrossesTotal DribblesSuccessful DribblesBall RecoveriesDispossessedMins Played
Jack Grealish 4 3 2 27 93% 5 2 4 4 9 6 70

Being dispossessed on six occasions shows that he remains far from the finished product but, for a first top-flight start, his impact was far more positive than negative.

The Birmingham-native could have made a bigger impression too when he had the chance to put Villa 2-1 up in the 17th-minute, when Christian Benteke's pass found him in the centre of the box, but his low shot produced a fine save from QPR goalkeeper Rob Green.

It didn't seem to cost his side too much, though, as Benteke would go on to give them the lead 16 minutes later with his second, before completing his hat-trick seven minutes from the end with a sublime free-kick to rescue a 3-3 draw and keep Sherwood's men three points above the drop zone.

Given both the Villa boss' noted trust in homegrown talent and Grealish's performance, it will now be interesting to see whether the Ireland Under-21 international gets to keep his place for the weekend's trip to Tottenham Hotspur but, even if he does return to the bench, we at least got more confirmation last night that a bright future is ahead.

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