'I didn't see it happen to Ruben Neves': Dean Smith responds to talk of Jack Grealish to Manchester United

Dean Smith head coach of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on December 01, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

The Aston Villa midfielder has impressed at Premier League level, much like Neves at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Dean Smith head coach of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford on December 01, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Dean Smith says he cannot recall the Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder, Ruben Neves, being linked with a move to Manchester United as his Aston Villa counterpart, Jack Grealish, has been.

Grealish impressed as Villa drew 2-2 with United at Old Trafford on Sunday - scoring the game's opening goal.

It is claimed that afterwards, the Red Devils boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, told the Aston Villa player he was the best player on the pitch - something Smith insisted that he had no qualms with, agreeing with the statement.

And some pundits have since suggested Grealish as an option for the fallen Premier League giants in future transfer windows.

But Smith appeared confident that, just as Wolves have done with Neves, Aston Villa can keep hold of their prized asset for seasons to come.

 

"I’ve seen the speculation in the press with pundits and whatnot, linking Jack with other clubs and saying he could possibly go," the Villans manager told the club's official Youtube channel. "What they don’t realise, I worked with kid for 14 months, he tells the story himself of jumping into his bush in his back garden at six years old pretending it was the Holte End.

"He’s Villa through and through, he’s now performing on the biggest stage he can in the Premier League for Aston Villa. He’s playing well, scoring goals, creating assists and it’s a club he loves.

"He signed a new deal at the start of last season, and we’ve got two very wealthy owners who want to build a team around the likes of Jack.

"They can keep linking him with other football clubs, but this is the one club that he loves and that’s probably the most important thing."

Jack Grealish of Aston Villa and Ruben Neves of Wolverhampton Wanderers  during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Villa Park on March 10,...

He added: "I think at times it can be lazy journalism. Because Wolves got promoted last year, I didn’t see Neves getting linked with Manchester United. He's a top player, I've said he's a top player. But this isn’t a small club here at Aston Villa.

"As I’ve said, we’ve got two billionaire owners who bought this football club for a reason, wanted this football club to get into Premier League.

We are in the Premier League and now we want to carry it forward. I’m sure they wouldn’t be thinking of one of our top players being linked with other clubs."

Grealish has already scored or assisted seven goals in 12 Premier League games this season - more than Neves and as many as the Wolves star managed in the whole of last term.

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