Gabby Agbonlahor has raved about the quality of Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish and insists that he’s not yet hit his peak.
The 24-year-old is the outstanding individual in Dean Smith’s current squad and is having a brilliant campaign, with many expecting him to earn his first senior call-up for England.
He is a boyhood Villa fan that is leading by example for his team and their survival hopes in the Premier League rest a lot on his shoulders.
The attacking midfielder has made 28 appearances across all competitions this season, scoring nine goals and supplying eight assists.
The Midlands club are currently just a point above the relegation places in the Premier League, but they are in the Carabao Cup final against Manchester City at the beginning of March.
Former Villa forward Agbonlahor has admitted it may be very difficult for the club to keep talisman Grealish if they get relegated, but urged them to keep him at all costs during the summer if they stay in the top-flight.
“He’s not at his peak yet he’s getting better game by game. The better players he plays against the better he plays, the more he’s learning the game he is getting better. I don’t think you’ve seen him at his peak yet,” Agbonlahor told talkSPORT (12:55pm, 20 February).
“I think if they go down it’s going to be really hard [to keep him], but I’m not thinking that way because I think they’ve got more than enough in the squad to stay up.
“If you stay up and sell him what does that say for the rest of the squad? You have to keep hold of your best players and I think if they can keep hold of Jack and then rebuild, why can’t Villa start fighting for top four again. They should keep him.”
It would take a lot for Villa to get back to the kind of success they enjoyed when Agbonlahor was at his peak, but they only need to look over at Sheffield United to see they are right in the mix for a Champions League finish this season.
Smith’s priority has to be to keep the club in the Premier League this season and they don’t need to focus on anything else until that’s achieved.
But Grealish’s future is so crucial moving forward that it will continue to be a topic of discussion.