Dean Smith's Aston Villa era is still very much in its infancy, yet the former Brentford boss could already be praised for the improved performances young Jack Grealish has been turning in since he took over at Villa Park.
Smith has been in charge for just four games so far, winning two at home and losing both of their away fixtures. However, his presence seems to have reinvigorated Grealish as he is revelling in the new-found faith shown in him by the new Villa boss.
Smith has played Grealish in the number 10 role, just behind the striker, in all four games. The young attacker has played the full 90 minutes in all but one of those fixtures, with his man-of-the-match showing last Friday a particular highlight.
Grealish scored one and created the other as Villa beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0.
Former Villa boss Steve Bruce never seemed quite sure of where Grealish's best position was, often switching him between that central attacking role and a winger.
What Smith seems to have asked of the youngster is to stay forward in a more advanced role, even when out of possession. This appears to be suiting Grealish's natural game, as his last two games in particular have been impressive.
The first of those was a 1-0 defeat to QPR but Grealish was the standout Villa player that evening, too.
Smith has played Grealish just behind their striker, Tammy Abraham, and will be hoping the two of them can develop a good working partnership that can fire the Villans up the league table.
Abraham, on loan from Chelsea, has scored four goals in his opening 10 league games for Villa.
Grealish's talent has never been in doubt, however, his inconsistency has always been the main concern. If Smith continues to place his trust in the creative youngster, and Grealish repays him with performances like in the Bolton game, it can only spell good news for Villa fans this season.
Have something to tell us about this article?