Belfast Telegraph

Sherwood: Grealish makes difference

Tim Sherwood insists Jack Grealish can handle himself and dismissed any fears the Aston Villa star will get bullied out of games.

The 19-year-old has come in for some rough treatment during his breakthrough under Sherwood this year.

West Ham brought Alex Song on to combat the teenager, who set up Tom Cleverley's winner in Villa's 1-0 victory on Saturday, and Song was booked for chopping him down late on.

He has flourished under Sherwood and the boss believes Grealish will be able to take what is thrown at him.

He said: "I've never seen someone get kicked so much in training. He's getting a lot of practice. Next week he's wearing Alastair Cook's pads.

"He almost likes it. No-one likes getting hurt but he loves bodies around him. You give the ball to him in a tight area. That's something I always work on, trying to create a melee, but he finds a pass out. It allows us to double up down the side.

"He's doing something right. Just continue what you're doing. He doesn't roll around on the floor. He's almost a little bit too honest, maybe it's the British in him."

Villa can seal survival at Southampton on Saturday as they sit four points above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone with two games left.

Grealish has been instrumental in recent weeks with Villa winning three of their last four games and he also starred in their FA Cup semi-final victory over Liverpool last month.

And Sherwood reckons the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international has been a game changer because he takes risks.

He said: "It's just the way he is - the way he plays. He's always been like that ever since I've seen him play from 16 years of age in youth teams. He likes to show everyone that he's a top player.

"You don't really get the credit for it until you do it in front of 39,000 fans. He makes the difference."


From Belfast Telegraph