Jack Grealish has started the season as delightfully as he finished the last and is proving to be Aston Villa’s shining light as they push for promotion, once again.
He will, however, be asked to carry an even larger burden than he did in the second half of last season.
Some late loan arrivals in the form of Yannick Bolasie, Anwar El Ghazi and Tammy Abraham provide some respite.
But none of the aforementioned are capable of providing the same level of creative spark – although Abraham will be tasked with rapidly forming a strong on-field understanding with Grealish.
The 19-year-old English striker is no stranger to the Championship, though.
In the 2016/17 season, he scored 23 goals on loan to a Bristol City side that finished 17th in the division. Now, he is playing alongside arguably the most creative player in the league in Grealish.
The 23-year-old has been immense this season.
He tops the league in most fouls won as teams continue to employ aggressive tactics as a means of negating the threat he poses.
It has not worked. He has made the second-most key passes in the league, with 18 chances created through eight games.
Furthermore, he has completed the joint-highest number of dribbles – 19.
It is encouraging that the consistent fouling that he is suffering has done little to deter him from continuing to be creative in possession.
Abraham and Grealish’s second outing together, against Rotherham in midweek, produced the former’s first goal for the club – expect the partnership to be a fruitful one for Villa this season.