What to do with Grealish

Grealish returned during the Festive period

Jack Grealish looks like he is recovering well from his injury and could be set for a return after the International break. The Wolves game may well come too soon for the Solihull born Villa fan but the games against Fulham and Birmingham may provide the player with the opportunity of some game time.

The question is where would a fit-again Grealish fit into the current team and is there even a position available for him in the starting eleven?

Grealish was the second highest scorer for Villa last season; scoring 5 from a wide position but even he would admit that he is capable of so much more. Before the kidney injury that he suffered in the pre-season game against Watford, Bruce had plans of utilising Grealish as a number 10 or attacking midfielder in a 3 man midfield trident for this season.

Before the kidney injury that he suffered in the pre-season game against Watford, Steve Bruce had plans of utilising Grealish as a number 10 or attacking midfielder in a 3 man midfield trident for this season and even stated that he build a team around the 22-year-old.

A move towards the middle, which is the Villa man’s preferred position would have given the player a chance to unlock defences with clever passes and neat interchanges. Playing in a more central role and seeing more of the ball, the opportunity is there to create, provide more assists and get into more goalscoring positions.

Grealish is close to a returnWith the introduction of the 4-4-2 formation which was conceded with an upturn in results, there is no longer room or the luxury of an attack-minded central midfielder in the mould of Grealish. It makes more sense to have one holding player in Glenn Whelan or Mile Jedinak and then a box to box team-mate alongside him such as Conor Hourihane or Henri Lansbury. Which means that a wide position would be the more obvious position for him.

The trouble is, the wide positions are already in high demand. Robert Snodgrass and Albert Adomah are starting to make the left and right midfield spots their own after some impressive displays. Also competing for these spots are Ahmed Elmohamady (who has taken right back duties), Birki Bjarnason and the injured Andre Green.

It is unlikely then that Grealish will be able to find his way back into his preferred attacking midfield position unless the manager changes formation back to 4-3-3. However, why would Bruce do this when this formation caused him so many poor results. Likewise, even if he did, there is still competition for his position. Josh Onomah, who was bought due to the injury to Grealish looks exciting and productive albeit still raw and the young Callum O’Hare has been making the match-day squads recently.

Competition for places is healthy and desired by all clubs. It will be great to see him back fully fit again after a difficult injury. So long as he can keep his head down and work hard and concentrate on the pitch then we will have a great squad player who if he starts to live up to his potential could take this league by storm.


  1. A lot of games to come and not everyone should be a 4-4-2. It makes sense to have an extra CM when you play better sides or we will never see the ball in CM!

    Lots of options for rotation, impact subs and changing tactics during a game – something we have rarely seen at Villa.

    I don’t think Jack should play out side though unless we are struggling with injuries.

    We have 6 players (arguably 7 or 8 if you include Hogan and a fit RHM) fighting for 4 slots with some flexibility – Kodjia can play at 9, 10 or 11; Adomah can play at 7 or 11; I think Green could probably play at 10 from what I have seen. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a fluid front 4 that was swapping positions during the game and never allowing the opposition defence to get a firm handle on who they were marking. Even with the current pick we could see Kodjia dropping out left, with Albert switching to RW and Snoddy moving inside to a no. 10 during a game and giving the opposition something to think about – we are too rigid.

    Also, I think Elmo has found his position at RB and should defo stay there.

    We do need some squad pruning in January – Bunn out (Steer is no. 2 for me now); way too may RBs (Hutton has to go); bring a LB in, I would let Bjarnason go (he is just not good enough).


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