Joe Cole urges Sherwood to build Aston Villa team around playmaker Jack Grealish

Jack Grealish

Joe Cole wants Tim Sherwood to make Jack Grealish Aston Villa's key man.

Aston Villa-owned midfielder Joe Cole has told the Daily Mirror that Tim Sherwood should build his team around playmaker Jack Grealish.

Cole, 33, has been sent out on loan to League One side Coventry City having fallen out of favour under Sherwood, just years after he was a regular England international.

It's something of a fall from grace for Cole, but he has taken a step that few players would at this stage in his career - he has stepped down just to play first-team football again.

His reputation as a maverick playmaker could now be matched by his Villa team-mate Jack Grealish, who has shown his exceptional talent on the field but some immaturity off it.

The 20-year-old midfielder has been in and out of the Villa side this season due to fitness issues, but having chosen to represent England over Ireland, Grealish is being tipped for a huge future at both club and international levels.

Now, Cole has told the Daily Mirror that under-fire Villa boss Sherwood needs to build his team around Grealish, citing that he is a 'clever' player and should be the focal point of the Villa team.

"It is important that the club build the team around him," said Cole. "I think they have the perfect gaffer for him - the gaffer loves him. Jack is a clever footballer and he is going to be a massive player for Villa over the future. But now he is getting into that stage where he has gone beyond potential and is an important cog in the wheel at Villa. That is a different stage of his career now – it becomes expectancy and is a different way of dealing with it," he added.

Grealish has skill, the ability to drive at defenders and an impressive passing range, but he must also prove his maturity to Sherwood before he becomes Villa's key man - and that will only come with experience in the first team.

Immature moments off the field are to be expected from young players, but Grealish needs to prove that they are behind him in the coming months, even with Cole a huge fan of his already.

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