Aston Villa head to Bolton this afternoon seeking a ninth successive victory as they look to strengthen their grip on a top six spot.
Whilst it’s been a real team effort from Dean Smith’s men, there’s no doubting the return of Jack Grealish has been the spark that Villa needed to reignite their season.
A run of two wins in 13 games without the local lad left Villa in mid-table but the 23-year-old then inspired the team to seven consecutive wins, as captain, before they won without him against Bristol City last time out.
Therefore, his influence is unquestionable and Football League World exclusively caught up with Michael Brown to get his thoughts on the Villa star, with the former Tottenham midfielder believing Smith’s setup and style of play helps get the best out of Grealish.
“He’s very talented, that’s the thing you do know and when his team are going well, he’s the type of flair player that’s able to turn it on, get on the ball.
“I see that type of player when his team are doing well with confidence, because when they’re all behind the ball and going to defend he’s not going to be getting many touches.
“When they’re moving the ball around he’ll always find little areas, get on the half turn and he can punish you. I’ve been very impressed, he’s maturing and he’ll certainly be getting watched very closely.”
Many Villa fans will be resigned to the fact that the academy graduate will be off if they fail to win promotion as it’s clear he has the talent to play in the top-flight.
Some felt he already had the ability to make a difference in Gareth Southgate’s England squad, however, the former Villa player has been reluctant to call on Grealish because he is playing in the Championship.
And, whilst recognising the quality of the player, Brown can understand the decision made by the Three Lions’ chief.
“Until he goes into that Premier League you’re just not going to get many chances,” he continued. “You can see his ability but you’re being tested against lesser players that are not at international level.
“You can see what he is bringing but it’s very hard to pick him when you look at the choice of midfielders that we’ve got with England who are playing at a higher level.”