Crystal Palace star Andros Townsend believes Aston Villa may be the most exciting team in the Premier League at present, as he told Laura Woods on talkSPORT (10 November, 9.15am).
It is less than two months now since Villa stumbled their way to a 1-0 opening day victory over ten man Sheffield United.
On September 21, Dean Smith’s side were forced to rely on an Ezri Konsa header from a corner kick to seal the hardest of hard-fought three points, with Grealish often crowded out of the action by a packed Blades defence.
But the arrival of Ross Barkley on loan from Chelsea has not only given Villa a real goal threat from midfield, it has also given Grealish the freedom to thrive and wreak havoc from the left-hand side.
In that 7-2 shellacking of champions Liverpool and Sunday’s 3-0 win at Arsenal, the combinations between Barkley and Grealish were a joy to behold, the former driving forward and dragging defenders away for the latter to weave his right-footed wand.
Barkley has taken Grealish’s game to a whole new level; although it would be remiss to mention the impressive form of Trezeguet, John McGinn and Ollie ‘six goals in seven games’ Watkins.
“I really enjoying watching Villa – perhaps more than anyone else,” said the £13 million Townsend, whose Palace side will travel to Villa Park on Boxing Day.
“Barkley has brought out a new side of Grealish – more freedom. I’m really excited to watch Villa and see how they go.”
Captain fantastic Grealish has produced four goals and five assists in just seven Premier League games this term. Yet he is still far from guaranteed a place in Gareth Southgate’s England XI with Mason Mount and Phil Foden shining elsewhere in the division.
But Townsend, a winger with 13 international caps of his own, is confident a player of such supreme natural talent will force Southgate’s hand eventually.
“I think Grealish deserves plating time but so does Mount, so does Foden, so does Mason Greenwood when he’s back in the squad,” Townsend said.
“Grealish did well in the last international break and I’m sure he’ll get more chances.”