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Garry Thompson believes Aston Villa need to prove themselves without Jack Grealish

Dean Smith head coach of Aston Villa during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Derby County at Villa Park on March 02, 2019 in Birmingham, England.

Jack Grealish has been a key player for Aston Villa in recent seasons.

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa with team mate Tyrone Mings before the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Derby County at Villa Park on March 02, 2019 in Birmingham, England.

BBC Sport pundit Garry Thompson has warned Aston Villa that they need to prove themselves without star man Jack Grealish following his return to action over the weekend.

The 23-year-old helped Dean Smith's side secure a comprehensive 4-0 win over Derby County as he scored a stunning volley on the stroke of half-time to cap off one of the best 45 minutes seen at Villa Park in a long while. 

The performance against the Rams was a stark contrast to what Villa were producing in Grealish's absence because they had won only two games during his time on the sidelines. 

 

Speaking during the West Midlands Football Phone-in on BBC Radio WM (04/03/2019), former Villa man Thompson was critical of the players that all of a sudden 'raised their game' because Grealish was on the field of play.  

"I think it is dangerous to be reliant on one player because football is such a precarious game as you say he can get injured next week or the week after," Thompson told BBC Radio WM. "Saturday was a brilliant, lovely day, great atmosphere, good bit of football but if we then lose our talisman or our glue that holds it all together. Where do we go from there?

"We need another way to play, just in case. We need to be better anyway. What about all the others? They finally raised their game because Jack's there, they have got to raise their game anyway."

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa scores for Aston Villa during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Derby County at Villa Park on March 02, 2019 in Birmingham, England.

There is no doubt that Grealish is Villa's best player and the manner in which the team performed upon his return only adds fuel to the argument that they are a one-man team. 

In his absence, the likes of John McGinn, who was suspended for the Derby game, striker Tammy Abraham and January signing, Tyrone Mings have stood out.

But they have struggled to push Smith's side over the lines as they have suffered a number of costly defeats, both on home soil and on the road. 

At the weekend, Villa will make the short trip to St Andrew's as they take on their bitter rivals Birmingham City in what is expected to be a hotly-contested encounter. 

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa scores the second goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Birmingham City at Villa Park on November 25, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

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