The 19-year-old playmaker made his first Premier League appearance of the season in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Selhurst Park.
After attracting a few unwelcome headlines over the summer, Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish showed in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace why anyone thinking he had taken his foot of the gas would be more than mistaken.
Starting at the tip of a midfield diamond, the fit-again teenager proceeded to pick up right where he left off last season, offering Villa the creative spark that had been missing in their first two games of the new campaign.
A live wire in the centre of the park, he looked like the visitors’ most dangerous attacking outlet throughout the match, as his direct running and superb movement in the final third gave the opposition all kinds of problems.
While he was ultimately unable to inspire his side to the result they wanted due to Jordan Amavi’s late goal-costing error, the emerging No. 10 still managed to put up some impressive statistics on the afternoon, as he completed 88 per cent of his 32 passes and four out of five attempted dribbles, while also recording six recoveries and being disposed on the ball just once from 44 touches.
|Vs Crystal Palace||Total Shots||Shots Ontarget||Key Passes||Total Passes||Passing Accuracy||Total Dribbles||Dribble Accuracy||Touches||Ball Recoveries||Dispossessed||Mins Played|
His 90-minute run-out was his first appearance for the senior side since picking up a hamstring strain at the start of Villa’s pre-season training camp in Portugal and, speaking after the match, manager Tim Sherwood revealed his delight at having his star prospect back in the line-up.
“We're glad to have Jack Grealish back as he can unlock the door in between the midfield,” Sherwood told the club’s official website. “We've just got to look and take the positives.
“It's another 90 minutes for the guys - and the new lads as well.”
It was also Grealish’s first outing since making the front pages for all the wrong reasons this summer, when he was snapped in Tenerife looking somewhat worse for wear – just a couple of months after being pictured inhaling nitrous oxide.
Sherwood backed him to learn from his mistakes ahead of the Palace clash, though, labelling him a “one-off talent”, and, judging from his subsequent performance, it looks like the homegrown product is eager to reward the faith shown in him.