Aston Villa legend Tony Morley calls for Jack Grealish and Jordan Lyden to get more playing time

Jack Grealish

The young midfielders both came off the bench in Saturday's 4-0 home defeat to Chelsea.

Aston Villa legend Tony Morley has called for youngsters Jack Grealish and Jordan Lyden to start for the club over the rest of the season.

Morley was speaking to AVTV following Villa’s 4-0 home defeat to Chelsea on Saturday afternoon, when goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Alexandre Pato and a second-half brace from Pedro condemned the Premier League’s bottom side to their seventh straight defeat.

They now sit 15 points from safety with only six games remaining and will almost certainly be playing second tier football next season for the first time the 1987-88 campaign.

Grealish has barely played for the club this calendar year due to a string of injuries, but the 20-year-old midfielder featured for the first time in six weeks against Chelsea as a 66th-minute substitute and proved to be one of the team’s few positives.

Lyden, who has made four senior appearances since being promoted to the first-team in early December, also came on for the last eight minutes of the match, and Morley wants to see more of the pair over the coming weeks now relegation has been all but confirmed.

“With somebody like Grealish now, he’s got to be establishing himself for next season as a regular first-team player,” the former European Cup-winning winger told AVTV. “It’s a massive season for him next year. We will be in the Championship – there’s no doubt about that – and there’s got to be some young lads at the club or some we’re looking at that want to come to a club like this and establish themselves.

On Lyden, he added: “He likes a bit of a battle. I would now, if I was a manger, give one or two a run. Give them a bit of a chance and say, ‘If you can prove it here, you’ve got a chance.’

“The next couple of years, players could make big names for themselves because what’s happening from the top all the way through could be a positive thing.”

Grealish and Lyden are certainly not the only youngsters who could get playing time for Villa during the run-in, as the likes of Andre Green, Keinan Davis and Niall Mason have all been involved with the first-team setup in recent months.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Jerell Sellars and Easah Suliman are others who could eventually break into the senior squad in the Championship next season, while the club also signed teenage winger Oscar Borg from West Ham United last month.

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