What is Happening With Jores Okore and Jack Grealish?

By Ben Cripps

What no Okore?

As the season begins to kick-in in earnest with now no international break to interrupt the flow of the Premier League until March next year, the burning question on every Villa fan’s lips (apart from where’s the next win coming from?) is, “Where is Jores Okore?”

Now, I for one was very excited by the prospect of seeing the Danish international in our starting line-up week-in-week-out when we signed him before the start of last season. So much so that I made the purchase of last season’s away kit with his name on it. I had been expecting to be walking around wearing his name proudly. Instead, when I’m wearing the shirt out and about, I am questioned on his identity!

How has this happened? Yes, he picked up an unfortunate injury at the beginning of last season which left us with the calamity pair Clark and Baker (who has vastly improved this season) for large parts of the season, causing panic and increased worry amongst the Villa faithful that relegation might beckon. But now the fact is, he’s fit. Yet Baker and even Clark are above him in the centre-back pecking order. Okore is now Villa’s fifth choice in the position, after being seen as the potentially the most important signing of last year’s summer window.

He must be fit, he has revealed himself via social media that he has been playing for Denmark U21s, and it is no secret. It’s as if Lambert doesn’t think we’ll notice. So where on earth is he?!

Every week when the team sheet is unveiled, we all hope more than expect, to see his name at the very least on the bench, but this is a rarity in itself. Instead, Ciaran Clark finds himself in his place, who quite frankly is extremely fortunate to still be at a Premier League club.

Perhaps this is another Helenius situation, we can only hope not, and to be honest, it is most unlikely considering Okore’s recent activity outside of Villa on international duty.

Return of the Jack?

Jack Grealish is another matter. This is slightly more understandable, yet at the same time  perplexing. The young Irishman (Englishman?) has featured very few times this season, most notably against Hull where he took an almighty battering but thankfully remained in one piece, as did his beautiful hair.

When he has been on the pitch, we have seen some glimpses of his potential and it has left us wanting more. Some may say it is a sensible move on Lambert’s part, easing him onto the big stage. However, look at Raheem Sterling at Liverpool, you can’t justify that he has not succeeded greatly since his introduction onto the scene at Anfield (same with Michael Owen, back in the day). Why not throw in Jack? It’s not as if Villa have anything else is going on.

Yes, Grealish might be a bit lightweight, but the most frustrating thing for Villa fans is to see him so successful in pre-season and also during midweek for the U-21s, but stunted at Villa Park.

The problem is, as we all know too well, Lambert seems afraid to make big decisions. We have seen this ever since he arrived, with the exception of introducing Brad Guzan ahead of Shay Given. Lambert has always refrained from switching tactics, being incredibly stubborn with his ideas, and refusing to be swayed by the views of the fans.

Sticking with his character, Lambert is certainly not going to be making any rash decisions on Grealish, who is perhaps somewhat distracted by his international decision time dilemma at the moment. It would seem we are going to have to sit back and watch as Lambert continues his policy of sticking to his guns.

After Okore’s recent comment this week, where he stated: “I need to play, so I don’t want to exclude anything when it comes to the coming transfer window.” All we can hope is that the Dane gets his place back in the team and doesn’t leave in January .

Personally, I’m desperate to hear something from the club on the situation, but like everything with the club nowadays, it is in hope rather than expectation.  UTV

Follow Ben Cripps on Twitter – @BWC_19


  1. ‘Krankys’ post said most of what i was going to say ,,,,, I can fully appreciate Villa’s financial situation before the season, but where is the sense of buying lots of players who dont ‘cut the mustard’? … i really was looking forward to our season, especially with having 8 new ‘veteran’ players coming in, *albeit 3 from exile.

    i do really think its time time look for a different manager in Jan’ … Surely an half decent manager could do something alot better with the players we possess …. i dislike the formation … i dislike the line up … and i dislike playing players out of position

    I.m sure there is a better team in there some where.

  2. Why not play grealish for four games, the squad Lambert picks
    Never win any way. So start now ready for relegation

  3. I scratch my head at some of the things going on under Lambert’s regime, such as the two you mention. He signs players who seem to disappear for no reason, eg Lowtons famous invisible man era, when we heard rumours of off the field problems, which the manager denied, but it goes deeper than that.
    Just go through his signings, Bennett, KEA, Bowery, Sylla, Tonev, Helenius, Luna amongst others, were to be a part of his “project” which now seems dead and buried, but are now consigned to the where are they now brigade. All arrived as the much heralded youngsters for the future, that was a very short lived future for some.
    But his biggest faux pas was Grant Holt, his “mate” and a “real bloke” what a mess eh?
    And so it will continue, because Lambert has the full backing of the failed Cleveland Browns owner, to do what he wants as long as the cash is flowing in, that wont last long the way things are shaping up. UTV

  4. Quick side note: While he has been better, I’m not sure Baker has improved *that* much, I just think he’s managed to avoid his most ridiculous level of mistakes. He still drives me up the wall, particularly with the ball at his feet. But our standards are so low at the minute that we seem to think these things; much like the fans who keep going on about how good N’Zogbia is looking, which is just nonsense. But, much like Baker being a bit more competent, comparatively speaking to what is around Zoggy, I can genuinely see why people are clutching at that hopeless straw.

    But I digress….

    I have heard from a few places that Lambert’s decision not to play Okore or Grealish is far more personal than football. I don’t know if this is true, but I suspect it is, if nothing else than purely on the basis that it makes more sense than any footballing decision. I’m not saying it’s any more justifiable, but it does make more sense.

    On the flip side, Lambert’s footballing decisions are often illogical too, so, genuinely, who knows. I am certain there are no words invented that can adequately describe just how much I want that man gone.

  5. Many moons ago we had a similar situation with our manager Vic Crowe. We had a great youth team containing John Gidman and Brian Little, but perplexingly enough Crowe stuck to his principles of picking Turnbull and Tiler instead of Gidman and Vowden and Hockey instead of our God Brian Little. Thankfully Crowe was sacked after nearly returning us to the old Third Division and was replaced by Major Ron who gave talent and youth a chance and we saw Gidman and Little flourish. Let’s pray that history repeats itself ! If they are good enough it doesn’t matter if they’re old enough ! ! !

  6. When I hear Lambert spout out that Cleverley was being particularly clever then I cringe with embarassment!

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