Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood ponders how Jack Grealish, Adama Traore would have fared against Sunderland

Jack Grealish

The 19-year-old attackers were both forced to sit out Saturday's 2-2 draw at Villa Park after picking up injuries in the week.

Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood was encouraged by his side’s performance in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland but believes the result could have been different had both Jack Grealish and Adama Traore been available for selection.

Sherwood was speaking to AVTV after the match at Villa Park, having seen his side forced to settle for a point despite recording 21 shots on goal compared to Sunderland’s seven, while also having over 60 per cent of possession.

The visitors had taken an eight-minute lead though Yann M’Vila’s powerful free-kick but Scott Sinclair equalised from the spot just three minutes later after being manhandled by Lee Cattermole in the box.

The in-form winger then tapped in his fifth goal in two games during the closing stages of the first-half thanks to Jordan Amavi’s cross, before Jeremain Lens levelled things up again seven minutes after the break when he turned Ciaran Clark and fired in from close range.

Villa pushed for a winner as the match wore on but, despite the 68th-minute introduction of Carles Gil, proved unable to kill off the Black Cats in the absence of their injured teenage sensations.

Grealish missed the match after turning his ankle during training following a two-assist performance in Tuesday night’s 5-3 Capital One Cup second-round win over Notts County, while fellow attacker Adama failed to recover in time from the knock that forced him off an hour into his home debut against the League Two club.

With a two-week international break coming up, Sherwood is confident that the pair will be back for the trip to Leicester City on 13 September but he could not help wonder either how they might have got on with the space that Sunderland’s defence afforded his side on the afternoon.

“Obviously we didn’t want to miss them today but the good thing is that we’ve got an international break now, so they’ll have time to rest and hopefully we can get them back,” he told AVTV.

“It would have been very interesting, with the space we had out there today, if we had the likes of Adama and Jack – they would have relished that.

“It wasn’t to be today but I’m really, really encouraged.”

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