Jack Grealish outlines how Stiliyan Petrov is coping with his return to Aston Villa training

Stiliyan Petrov - Aston Villa

The former Villa captain has linked up with the club for pre-season in a bid to make a remarkable comeback.

Stiliyan Petrov - Aston Villa

Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has told the club's official website that ex-captain Stiliyan Petrov is proving that he still has the class and ability to succeed on his return to pre-season training.

Petrov has linked up with his former club under new manager Roberto Di Matteo as he bids to make a remarkable comeback following four years out of football after his leukaemia diagnosis.

Though there were some initial doubts about the wisdom of the decision, the 37-year-old appears to have made great strides in the fortnight since his return, and played 45 minutes of the club's 8-0 friendly win over Austrian side GAK Graz on Saturday.

Former Aston Villa player Stiliyan Petrov

There has been talk that if Petrov can prove his worth to Di Matteo he could be offered a contract to remain at the club and play some on-field role in the upcoming Championship season.

Grealish certainly seems to believe his former mentor is deserving of that chance, telling the club's official website that Petrov is coping fine with the pre-season work and is showing that he still has the class and attitude required to succeed.

Grealish said: "You can tell how much work he’s put in. He’s coping with the training fine, he’s certainly not struggling. You can see that touch of class. You never lose that touch and that vision.

Stiliyan Petrov - Aston Villa

"Maybe some people did have a few doubts but he’s been improving all the time. It’s now about him continuing to get fitter. When he came on in the game against GAK Graz, it was such a special moment.

"I’d never played with him before so to be on the same pitch as him was a real dream come true for me because I remember his influence when he played."

Petrov made 218 appearances for Villa in seven years at the club before provisionally retiring from the game four years ago upon his diagnosis.

Stiliyan Petrov celebrates after scoring the second goal for Aston Villa

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