Dean Smith insists Aston Villa MUST move on from Jack Grealish

‘We’re over Jack!’: Angry Dean Smith insists Aston Villa MUST move on from the departure of their £100m captain to Manchester City after their opening day defeat by Watford

  • Dean Smith insisted his players and staff are over the departure of Jack Grealish 
  • The midfielder left Aston Villa to complete a £100m move to Manchester City 
  • Villa were beaten 3-2 by Watford in their first game without their ex-skipper
  • Smith insisted fans must move on because he is no longer their player 

Whether Dean Smith liked it or not, the elephant in the room was Jack Grealish.

Beaten on the opening day of the new season by an inspired Watford, who look keen to make a mockery of pundit predictions for an immediate return to the Championship, the questions turned to the 25-year-old and the difference he could have made.

The Villa captain, the boyhood fan, the poster boy, the star of the team — he was all of those things and Manchester City were impressed enough to splash out £100million to get him.

Dean Smith insisted Aston Villa are over the departure of Jack Grealish to Manchester City

Villa were totally overwhelmed by Watford in the first half, leaving them with too much to do. But would Grealish have turned the tide?

‘We’re over Jack,’ came Smith’s curt reply, akin to a man discussing a painful break-up.

‘He’s not here anymore and he’s not our player. Players are fully aware of that and we’ve moved on already.’

And the fans? ‘Fans have to move on as well because he’s not our player.’

Three players were brought in with the money coughed up by City: Emiliano Buendia for £35million, Leon Bailey for £30m and Danny Ings for £25m.

Villa were beaten 3-2 by newly promoted Watford with Danny Ings often looking isolated

The onus now lands at the door of those three, as well as Ollie Watkins, who missed out through injury, to fill the void.

Ings looked isolated for large spells before a late penalty opened his Villa account. Bailey came off the bench and grabbed an assist for John McGinn’s goal while Buendia will be keen to forget his Premier League debut for Villa.

‘We have got a lot more depth this season and we can change games from the bench,’ added Smith.

‘(Bailey) showed little glimpses of what he can do and I thought Bertrand Traore did the same when he came on .

Watford will have every chance of staying up if they can keep star man Ismaila Sarr fit

‘We didn’t have the energy levels to get higher up the pitch and to defend higher up the pitch in the first half. (Ings) never got the service he deserves.’

As much as the narrative surrounded Villa this was the start of Watford’s redemption story in the top flight. 

They opened the scoring through Emmanuel Dennis and led 3-0 with a goal by Cucho Hernandez. If they can keep star man Ismaila Sarr, who got the second goal and an assist, they will have every chance of staying up.




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