Andy Townsend has raved about the improvement of Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, while also claiming he holds the key to any potential upset at the weekend in the cup final.
Villa face off against Manchester City on Sunday in the Carabao Cup final and will go into the contest at Wembley as big underdogs.
Dean Smith’s side are battling against relegation in the Premier League, while opponents Manchester City are second in the table and have been serial winners in recent years.
But the Midlands club have enjoyed a dramatic road to the final and will hope that anything can happen in a one-off game.
Ex-Villa midfielder Townsend insists that Grealish needs to perform if his former side are to clinch the silverware.
“His game has improved so much over the last 15 months. Since Dean made him captain, it gives you an extra layer of responsibility and an extra reason to not let your standards drop, to look after yourself and do the right things. Jack’s doing all of those and his form has been sensational,” Townsend said, as quoted by the club’s official website.
“I can’t see Villa winning [in the cup final] unless Jack plays very well, but I’m sure he will. This is the perfect setting and stage for him.”
Grealish has taken his game up to another level under Smith and surely a first senior call up to the England squad is just around the corner in March.
The 24-year-old is the talisman that is the driving force in the side and usually slots in as either a left-winger or in a more central midfield role.
He is an attacking midfielder that sets the tone for Villa on the pitch and has the individual quality to make something out of nothing.
Grealish has played 29 games across all competitions this season, scoring nine goals and supplying eight assists in return.