The Villa boss has backed the teenage midfielder to learn from his recent off-field mistakes.
Following his breakthrough 2014-15 season, Grealish’s face found the front pages of the tabloids back in June when he was snapped in Tenerife looking somewhat worse for wear – just a couple of months after being pictured inhaling nitrous oxide.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash at Crystal Palace, in which the 19-year-old is set to feature for the first time this season after recovering from a hamstring problem, Sherwood told his pre-match press conference: “Young kids make mistakes. I’ve had it previously with my other job, and they come through the other side.
“He didn’t annoy me really, he annoyed himself. Jack’s got to worry about himself. Self-motivation is only motivation really and I think that the penny has hopefully dropped for him.
“I will back him 100 per cent - he’s such a talented boy. I love him to death and hate him at the same time!”
|2014-15 Premier League||Position||Team||Goals||Total Shots||Shooting Accuracy||Assists||Total Key Passes||Total Dribbles||Dribble Accuracy||Passing Accuracy||Appearances||Mins Played|
|Jack Grealish||MF||Aston Villa||0||13||38%||1||18||29||74.19%||93%||17||815|
Grealish earned just fleeting cameos under former boss Paul Lambert over the first half of last season but he would go on to flourish with successor Sherwood’s guidance during the Premier League run-in.
After being handed his full top-flight debut in April’s home 3-3 draw with Queens Park Rangers, the skilful midfielder ended up starting the final nine games of the campaign in a No. 10 role and received widespread praise for his part in helping his childhood club avoid the drop.
His disappearing act in the 4-0 FA Cup final defeat to Arsenal showed that he is still far from the finished article but Sherwood is adamant that the homegrown teenager’s natural talent can take him right to the top of the game.
Labelling his star prospect a one-off talent, the Villa boss said: “He’s a superb talent for this football club and I want to nature him to fulfil his potential, which is immense.
“He’s a one-off, and I think a one-off on the pitch as well. He’s an exceptional talent, who’s made a couple of mistakes, but hopefully he can learn from them and move one.”
There are now big expectations for the fit-again Grealish this season and the Palace clash will give him the first chance to answer those who have questioned his professionalism after his recent off-field antics.