'He's had to work extremely hard': Pundit raves about £35,000-a-week Aston Villa man

Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has been highly praised by talkSPORT pundit Gary O’Neil, who has named him in his Premier League Team of the Season so far.

With English football now at a standstill, there has been plenty of reflection over how teams and players have fared this term prior to the postponement.

Grealish has come a long way over the past few years, helping Villa get promoted to the Premier League last season.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

While Dean Smith’s charges have struggled this term and sit 19th in the table, the 24-year-old has continued to deliver for his side.

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The Villa captain has made 31 appearances in all competitions this term, scoring nine goals and claiming eight assists, according to Transfermarkt.

“Grealish has been playing in a team that hasn’t had it all their own way, he’s had to work extremely hard to find time on the ball and he’s also had to work hard without the ball because Aston Villa has spent a lot of time without it this year,” O’Neil wrote on talkSPORT.

“I just think he’s come on so much, he’s grown into this role as the leader with the captain’s armband. He was always seen as a flair player and drifted in and out of games too much, but this year he has grown into a man, a leader, and he deserved his spot.”

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Villa fans have endured a tough season and, given the unprecedented English football hiatus, it remains to be seen what happens to the 2019-20 season – and indeed, to a Villa side currently in the bottom three.

However, Grealish has been one of the bright sparks this season, at best delighting the claret and blue fans with his exhilarating and committed play, and at worst being one of the few positives while the rest of the team flatters to deceive.

O’Neil is also right to praise how far Grealish has come since his formative days when there were question marks over his attitude and performances – if Villa go down, the £35,000-a-week ace is sure to remain in the Premier League.

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