The Harsh Reality About Jack Grealish at Aston Villa and the Rumours


When MOMS met Villa boss Steve Bruce earlier this week I joked to him that sometimes I have to explain to Villa fans aged 20 and under what ‘football’ actually is.

You have to feel sorry for younger generations of Villa supporters who have only experienced the dross that has been served up over the last six years or so and have worshipped false gods in claret and blue shirts. At the same time, you have to marvel at the extent that modern day media hype and marketing can actually mask so much mediocrity.

Not Shaw About Grealish

Take Jack Grealish. Has a Villa player received so much national press attention for so little on-field achievement? A promising player, yes. A world beater at the moment? Non.

So what about these current newspaper rumours of him potentially joining Guzan, Traore and Gestede at Villaboro Mk II?

Whether there is something in them or not, push ‘one of our own’ sentiment aside, filter out the hype, he’s very much dispensable.

Grealish turns 22 this year, the age that Gary Shaw’s career was over in earnest due to a knee injury (he was never the same afterwards). By that time, Shaw had won the league, the European Cup and the Super Cup. He’d also been crowned the PFA Young Player of the Year to boot. He scored 18 goals in the title-winning season that he started as a teenager.

Imagine the hype now that would surround such achievements!

Back then, Diego Maradona got his agent to ask for Shaw’s shirt after Villa beat Barcelona in the Super Cup. Nowadays, Shaw would probably be playing in a Barcelona shirt alongside Messi.


If Villa were selling a player that had achieved that, I’d get my pitchfork and march down to Villa Park to protest. Grealish leaving? I wouldn’t even get out of bed for that.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer Grealish to stay, not because of what he has done, but the potential he could still offer. And if he were to shine bright, then what better place for both player and fans alike than Villa Park.

Changing Complexion

The January window reinforcements in midfield will mean Grealish will seriously have to up his game to be a first team starter now. The signing in particular of Birkir Bjarnason – who has superior work rate and defensive qualities to Grealish – certainly puts pressure on in that left-hand side role. Meanwhile, Grealish’s favoured more central attacking-midfield is under threat to Bruce’s ultimate wish of playing two up top in the Championship.

Suddenly, it’s hard to see where Grealish does fit in beyond offering an alternative off the bench. For Grealish to be a player that makes his mark at Villa, he has to now play like the player some fans think he will become. You can only wait in expectation for so long.

Guilty of sometimes slowing the play down and taking a touch too many, having consistency issues and also defensive deficiencies, if played out wide (offering little cover for Amavi), Grealish could be considered by some as a budding luxury player.


Help Needed

But is that just a product of being in a rather poor footballing team?

Maybe the addition of Lansbury and Hourihane can make him more effective, but he needs to be more decisive in his play. The England U-21 has shown some signs of impacting the result of games (his goal versus Wigan), but more often than not, his presence is rarely felt.

Bruce prefers a slightly more blue collar ethic and has already publicly bemoaned Grealish waving his arms around at decisions and not staying focused on his own game.

If Middlesborough or any other club offered big money (or what about a loan to the end of the season swap with Jordan Rhodes?), I think Bruce would prefer to take it and invest it on more tangible assets. After all, in the context of Villa, it wouldn’t be like losing proven players like David Platt, Dwight Yorke, Ashley Young, Gareth Barry, James Milner, or Christian Benteke, who all made massive contributions to the team.

Potential only gets you so far and Villa need to start living in the present with him. After all, in the case of Gary Shaw, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. And when you compare Grealish’s development to Shaw’s or even Ashley Young’s, when he came to Villa aged 21, he’s off the pace to be considered anything special.

Still, there is a role for him for sure, but he needs to step up, because hype isn’t a currency that Bruce can afford to trade in.


For sanity in the transfer window follow MOMS on Twitter here @oldmansaid and on Facebook here myoldmansaid



  1. grealish, the kid has carried his partying on to the football pitch. and I don’t think he will change. I would let him go

  2. imo Grealish is not improving. He is very one paced on the ball and doesnt possess a decent shot. With his natural ability when he has the ball at his feet I was hoping he was going to be a Waddle type of player but its just not happening. Will he get any better than what he currently is? I’m not so sure

  3. Grealish is a great player now, but he still hasnt delivered as we need him to deliver. In other words goals or decent assists. There’s only one way we can get promoted and that’s by out scoring the opposition. We’ve got decent forwards and midfield players but only 2 of them have any goals in them. There’s no place for sentimentality if we want to get back to the big league. Having said all that, I wouldn’t get trigger happy on Grealish.

  4. Bottom line, good or not, he doesn’t fit the system and he still has that defeatist aura of the last couple of years. Its almost etched into the shirts of the players if that era. He needs a clean break and a new start as do we. If he stays its same old same old for all of us as unfortunate as that maybe for all involved

  5. He is not in the same league as Little. He was kicked al over the park but had pace, guile and could score. Grealish is king of the five yard hospital pass. If he wasn’t one of our own he would not have this level of support.

  6. Have to agree with most of the comments so far, I think it would be short sighted and another Albrighton if we let Grealish go, I thought we had got past having to sell our better players or in Jacks case a player of great potential. Yes by all means get shot of McCormack who’s clearly not interested in playing for us and wants to go, and up the bid for Rhodes he and Kodjia would make a great partnership. But please leave all of this Grealish speculation out, it’s causing unnecessary unrest.

  7. Whilst in some ways I agree with a lot of sentiment in the article, and profiting on Grealish now is a smart business decision, but not one that I could support. He signed a new contract when he could have made his own wage demands elsewhere said a lot. The debacle over choosing his international path hurt and the rash off field behavior are and were distractions to his game. He’s been mishandled by managers and one can be too comfortable somewhere, all negatives. But recently I don’t think he’s been terrible, he isn’t physical so can’t effectively defend and pace isn’t his strength, but since the ball is glued to his feet he doesn’t need it. With better more positive players around him he can thrive, haven’t seen an english player stroke the ball like he does for a while, goals come with confidence as do fewer touches and better decision making with time. There are many in my line to the door before Jack.

  8. Ship out Ayew, and Mcgate first both failures.
    Rhodes and Hogan have a nice feel for a Bruce rival.
    Jack (Bambi) on ice so far, and needs a wake up call etc.

  9. Grealish is an asset. One of the few home grown players with true class. Balanced and plays with his head up. Why else do other teams kick the s*** out of him? Needs managing but such talent often does. Failure to get the best out of him would be a black mark against Steve Bruce. With age will come maturity. Must not be allowed to leave – especially on the cheap. His best is yet to come.

  10. Get rid to much a big time Charlie won’t fight for the cause always looses the ball then cries foul couldn’t touch little or Shaw if he played another 20 years more a gabby type than the big two don’t make me laugh sell the bum anything over 5 million is a big bonus for a titty baby sell tony sell,sell,sell

  11. A sensible and balanced argument. I would add that if he does go and Rhodes moves the other way, with our valuation of both, anything less than Rhodes plus £13m should be seen as bad business. Gary Shaw was my favourite player when I was young, Jack is a different type of player entirely and of he stays it’s certainly time to “put up or shit up”

  12. We have to be realistic here, Grealish is player, only an asset and not even a finished article. The best thing he could do for the club is move for big money, although not a great fan I wouldn’t mind him remaining and maybe learning from some players who are coming in. The truth is we are not dependent on him so let’s treat this as it should be and do the best for the club.

    • Not being the “finished article” means that he has the potential of being an even greater asset if he becomes “the finished article ” Selling youngsters to make a fast buck is what holds the club back especially when they go onto do great things for other clubs whilest Villa rots for lack of good players . Dr Xia has already said he does nopt Buy into the Culture of buying talent rather than developing our own . So perhaps Jack should be the turning point when we grow our own ?

      • The question is though will he be such a big talent? Where is the evidence? If someone offers big bucks, you might get the best transfer fee he’ll ever he worth, if he doesn’t fulfil the hype.

        • the evidense is in how he played for our Junior teams and was a class above the rest . But yes some never reach their potential . But he seems to have seen the eror of his ways ( I hope) & with an improved team to play in he could well reach his potential

  13. Grealish is capable of being as good as Shaw & Little but there’s one big difference the latter 2 did not get kicked all around the pitch as Jack does . They had protection from the team . And that’s the big difference from then & now , as currently most teams have the attitude that if you can’t outplay Villa give them a good kicking & they will give up ! But with the new signings it would apear that is about to change as I suspect our new midfield will give back as much as they are given & more if the opposition want it that way . How Bruce slots jack into the team remains to be seen . But when he arrived he commented that he did not have the players to switch tactics mid match . But I suspect he can now !

    • Hello Hello protection ?? In the 70s + 80s … please let’s get real . Little the real deal Shawvrobbed of his best years . A very balanced view on a much hyped under performer. Take the dosh reinvest build a side with pace and power .

      • Yes protection but also refs turned blind eyes to retaliation back then . But Shaw would probably have not have had his career cut short if he’d have been playing a decade or 2 later as the surgery he needed was not available back then

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