Tim Sherwood insists Aston Villa playmakers Jack Grealish and Carles Gil can fit into same line-up

Trinity Road Stand - Aston Villa

The creative duo are both back to full fitness after recovering from pre-season injuries.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood has insisted that he can fit Jack Grealish and Carles Gil into the same line-up and intends to find spots for both in his starting XI going forward.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash at Crystal Palace, in which the playmaking duo could both feature for the first time this term after recovering from pre-season injuries, Sherwood told his pre-match press conference: “Jack Grealish and Carles Gil came through an U21s game on Monday, which was satisfying. That's good news for everyone.

“We need creativity. It's just a shame that two of the most creative players in the side have been injured at the same time.

“Now they are getting back towards fitness and it will change us going forward. They are very offensive players with a lot of technical ability who can take us forward.”

 2014-15 Premier League GoalsAssistsTotal Key PassesPassing AccuracyTotal Crosses MINSCrossing AccuracyTotal Dribbles MINSDribble AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Carles Gil 0 1 6 89% 10.88 15% 13.81 69% 5 359
Jack Grealish 0 1 18 93% 22.03 43% 28.1 74% 17 815

Grealish, 19, emerged as one of the Premier League’s most exciting talents under Sherwood’s guidance during last season’s run-in, having been handed his full top-flight debut in April’s 3-3 home draw with Queens Park Rangers.

Going on to start the final nine games of the campaign in a No. 10 role, the homegrown teenager earned rave reviews for his part in helping his childhood club avoid the drop and there are now big expectations for him this term.

Gil’s fortunes, on the other hand, took a different turn after Sherwood replaced the beleaguered Paul Lambert at the helm.

A mid-season arrival from Valencia, the skilful Spaniard netted Villa’s goal of the season on his full debut in a 2-1 FA Cup fourth round win over Bournemouth, before looking like the real deal in his first four league starts for the club.

After lasting less than an hour into Sherwood’s first game in charge against Stoke, however, the former Under-21 international saw just one more minute of action over the remaining 15 games of the campaign, as rumours of a falling-out with his new manager led to reports of a potential return to Spain.

Sherwood himself has since put those suggestions to bed, though, as the skilful midfielder started the club’s first three pre-season fixtures before picking up a knock in last month’s 2-0 win at Swindon Town.

However, the 22-year-old returned to the pitch in Monday night’s Under-21s match against Derby County alongside Grealish, who he set up for the winner, and Sherwood believes the fit-again pair can now continue that on-field relationship in the senior side.

“You can play both of them. They enjoy playing together,” the Villa boss said at his press conference. “I think if anyone watched the game on Monday - albeit an U21 game - they just passed the ball to each other.

“They enjoy each other's company. They are both technically gifted and we can find a position on the pitch for both of them.”

It now remains to be seen whether both will start the Palace clash but Sherwood does have an almost full squad to choose from for the game at Selhurst Park, with defenders Jores Okore and Jose Angel Crespo the lone absentees.

However, there may not be a debut for new boy Adama Traore, who Sherwood has labelled a "developmental player" and stressed that fans should be cooling their expectations over to begin with.

Register for ASTON VILLA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch