Jack Grealish suffered a nasty knock to his shin in the 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion and hasn’t been seen since. It has become more clear with every passing game just how important Grealish is to us.
Without Jack, it is clear to see that we are not half as threatening when in an attack. We just can’t see to find that final ball in the final third.
Two disappointing draws and a horrendous performance and defeat to Wigan tells you all you need to know about our current form. It is simply not good enough for a side who should be challenging for promotion this season.
It is no big secret that Grealish is our most influential player when he is at the top of his game. Those who did doubt him will no doubt have changed their mind now they have seen what we have been missing.
I don’t think anyone thought that our squad would fall apart, quite the way it has with Grealish in the team. He is the key to unlock our full potential and we haven’t been the same without him.
The way he can pull 2,3 or even 4 players to him frees up his teammates. Whenever he has the ball he looks to be positive and create space for himself and those around him. We just don’t create this space without him on the pitch. Wigan showed how we struggled for space and we were unable to string more than 4 passes together.
There is no-one else in our side who has the same effect Grealish does. We have too many who are too quick to play the safe pass or look to go backwards. Which is obviously not ideal when trying to form an attack.
Cal O’Hare has been the name that Villa fans have been talking about since Grealish’s injury. At the u23 level, he has shown that he is ready for the next level. He already plays to a very similar style as Grealish.
The problem for me is O’Hare looks a little lightweight and would get knocked off the ball way too easily. During the recent defeat to Swansea, he struggled to have any impact on the game. Some could argue that we directed our play to the wings too much which meant he struggled to get in the game but Grealish would still get involved.
O’Hare has been linked with a loan move in recent days and I feel this would be perfect for his development. Much the way the loan to Notts County helped Grealish develop.