Drinkwater was signed by Villa in January, and his initial time at Villa Park has not exactly gone smoothly.
Drinkwater has been heavily criticised at times by Villa fans, with some of his performances suggesting that he isn’t quite match sharp.
But Smith insists that the English central midfielder is starting to get up to speed now, as he has been so dedicated in training.
And the Villa boss has seen an improvement in Drinkwater’s displays.
"The only way you can work on your fitness is by working hard every day in training, which he does, and play matches, and he’s come in and his pass completion stat last week was 91 per cent, and probably the most forward passes in a game as well, so he was a big part of our build-up. Where he’s working to get better is without the ball,” Smith said.
Drinkwater’s initial struggles are understandable, given his lack of football over the last 18 months.
Despite his improvement, Drinkwater’s place in Villa’s team could actually be about to come under threat as John McGinn is set to return to fitness.
But Smith’s praise could suggest that Drinkwater is set to start in Villa’s next game, which comes against Southampton at the weekend.
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