Aston Villa star Jack Grealish is in a similar situation to Gareth Bale at Tottenham Hotspur

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa in action during a training session at the club's training ground at Bodymoor Heath on February 26, 2019 in Birmingham, England.

Grealish has been saddled with a statistical millstone after Aston Villa lost away at Tottenham Hotspur.

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa in action during a training session at the club's training ground at Bodymoor Heath on August 10, 2018 in Birmingham, England.

Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has grown into a superb player over the past few years after his baptism of fire in the Premier League years ago but his return to the top flight last week proved a bit of a reality check.

Although Dean Smith's side took the lead in their opener at Tottenham Hotspur and battled bravely, they were beaten by a late flurry of Spurs goals, with Grealish caught in possession on the edge of his own penalty area for the hosts' second.


It was always going to be tough for a newly promoted side to get something from a game away at the brand new stadium of a team which finished in the Premier League's top four and reached the Champions League final last time out, and so it proved.

However, the defeat has brought up a pretty pointless statistic about Grealish, the only remaining member of the Villa side which so meekly slipped out of the top flight three years ago and is now a completely different beast.

Grealish, as a professional, is very unlikely to concern himself with such a perspective-free nugget, and indeed there is precedent in a Premier League rookie - relatively speaking - being burdened with a similar statistical millstone who has gone on to the very top of the game, and as such, the 23-year-old could well take inspiration from it.

Having moved to Tottenham in 2007 for a reported initial £5million fee, big things were expected of Gareth Bale at White Hart Lane following his switch from Southampton, but things did not go his way at first, the Premier League side failing to register a win in his first 24 appearances (BBC Sport).

Gareth Bale of Tottenham reacts to a yellow card from Referee, Andre Marriner during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland at White Hart Lane on May 19,...

The Welshman's stock at Spurs was low for quite a while, to the point that he was derided by some sections of the press - The Sun's Pat Sheehan covered Tottenham's 1-0 defeat by Everton in November 2008 and wrote: "One glance at the score and any Spurs fan will tell you without looking at the line-up that Gareth Bale must have played".

In probably one of the most revisited and hindsight-impacted transfer reports in football history, the player was subsequently linked with a £3million move to Birmingham City in 2009, as per this report in The Telegraph.

However, Bale did not let the "jinx" tag get him down and, since then, he's gone on to have a pretty decent career in the game, to put it mildly - proof that any statistical millstones are best treated with the contempt they deserve or ignored altogether.

Gareth Bale of Real Madrid during the La Liga Santander  match between Rayo Vallecano v Real Madrid on April 28, 2019

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