Aston Villa boss Remi Garde has criticised the recent performances of Jack Grealish, telling reporters for the Mirror how the young winger’s standards have dropped quite significantly.
The former Ireland U21 international burst onto the scene last season, helping the Villans preserve their Premier League status and reach and FA Cup final.
This season, however, his performances have dropped off somewhat and new boss Remi Garde hasn’t been shy in expressing his opinion on the matter.
“Jack, for me, is a very gifted player with a lot of skill and quality but what I saw in the last few games he played was not the level he should have played,” said Garde.
“It is as simple as that. He needs more confidence and more structure in his game. When a player has potential and they are gifted they have to work to extract this gift and the skills they have.
“If you are gifted but don’t work, it is not enough. When you work hard you will be rewarded.”
While a public grilling can spur players on to perform better, Garde’s decision to do it within a month of his arrival and in Villa’s current position, is risky to say the least.
Former boss Tim Sherwood originally got the best out of Grealish, giving him licence to express himself and encouraging him at every opportunity, even when he perhaps underperformed.
Garde, in contrast, seems to be more disciplined, offering a sterner approach to man-management.
However, he must be careful when dealing with flair players and lessons must be learned from the likes of Felix Magath, who tried to adopt a similar method to disastrous consequences at Fulham.
Grealish, 20, is a key figure for Villa and they will need him to be at the very top of his game in order for the club to have any chance of surviving this season.