Jack Grealish gets vote of confidence from Aston Villa teammate Mark Bunn

Jack Grealish

The 20-year-old midfielder's progress was hampered this past season by injuries and off-field issues.

While Jack Grealish may have endured a dismal season with Aston Villa, his teammates clearly still recognise his potential.

Goalkeeper Mark Bunn, who joined Villa on a free transfer from Norwich last summer, remains a big believer in the 20-year-old playmaker's talent and is fully confident that he will prove why he deserves to be placed among English’s football’s top talents next term as the club bid to bounce straight back up to the Premier League.

Speaking to AVTV at the conclusion of the campaign, Bunn said: “No doubt, Jack’s a fantastic player. I see him in training and he does some unbelievable stuff. He’s been getting his head down, working hard and hopefully he can have a good season next season, which no doubt he will.

“We’ve got a good young team coming through so hopefully we can put some more in the side and start to build for next season.”

After bursting onto the Premier League scene during the 2014-15 run-in, Grealish was expected to take another big step forward this past season but instead saw injuries and off-field issues limit him to 11 starts in 21 total appearances, recording one goal and just one assist in the process.

He still managed to show some clear glimpses of his talent, such as in the 1-0 Capital One Cup third round victory over Birmingham City, but those moments were ultimately few and far between – especially after Tim Sherwood's sacking in October.

Nevertheless, while recent criticism of him has been justified, the Solihull native's promise was recognised earlier this month when he was named in the England Under-21 squad for the 2016 Toulon Tournament for the first time since switching his international allegiances from the Republic of Ireland last September.

He subsequently made his long-awaited debut for Gareth Southgate's side on Thursday evening, coming on as a 72nd-minute substitute as the Young Lions opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Portugal, and has earned the former Villa defender's praise for his work in training in the meantime.

Despite his difficult season, Bunn believes the creative midfielder’s inclusion in the squad was much deserved and thinks the confidence he will gain from the experience could be crucial to getting his club career back on track.

“I think he deserves a call-up,” Bunn told AVTV. “He’s still brilliant and I think maybe he needs that bit of confidence. I’ve been watching him in training and he’s been brilliant, so hopefully he can push on and keep doing well.”

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