Aston Villa legend Ian Taylor has praised manager Tim Sherwood for showing faith in 19-year-old Jack Grealish, telling Sky Sports News HQ that he expects the emerging attacker to thrive under his guidance.
Grealish, 19, made his first-team breakthrough at the start of this season, impressing in four league cameos and one cup start, before penning a new long-term deal to ward off big club interest.
The Birmingham-native seemed primed for a major role in the since-departed Paul Lambert’s side at the time but instead but spent the next few months either warming the bench or in the reserves, with a Championship loan move mooted as a result, per the Birmingham Mail.
However, with Sherwood talking up his talent since his appointment, the new boss handed Grealish his first top-flight start for recent 3-3 home draw with Queens Park Rangers, when he proceeded to reward the faith shown in him with an excellent showing.
After keeping his place for the 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur, the former trainee made his third consecutive start in the weekend’s FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool and put in a man of the match-calibre outing to help his childhood club book a Wembley return for next month's final with a 2-1 comeback victory.
Expectations are now high for his future but, while there would be a danger for some of letting the success go their heads, Taylor is confident that Grealish will encounter no such problems moving forward.
The former midfielder believes that’s because of Sherwood, who developed an outstanding reputation during his time at Tottenham Hotspur for helping nurture homegrown talent and, unlike previous manager Lambert, seems keen to let his side express themselves on the pitch.
“He kind of floats past people and he’s really deceptive,” Taylor said of Grealish on Monday afternoon. “But he’s got a good head on his shoulders and, as long as the manager can keep putting an arm around him and keep his feet on the floor, I think he’ll be a really good prospect.
“You just need a manager who’s going to take a chance and have faith in his ability to handle the situation. Previously, there probably wasn’t that.
“I think Tim’s come in and seen him training and thought, ‘Why not? Let’s give him a go,’ and he’s really reaping the rewards at the moment.”