Aston Villa’s start to the season has been remarkable considering Dean Smith’s side only guaranteed their survival on the final day of last season.
After strengthening in the summer, the team certainly look to have hit another level indeed.
Obviously, the performances of Jack Grealish for both club and country help but a report from The Athletic shares some insight into another area of the club their captain is leading.
As you can see in the graphic below, Grealish’s dominance at Villa is translated in all sorts of statistics. While the metrics included are a touch more advanced than goal contributions, he also leads the way on that front too.
Four goals and five assists from just seven Premier League games speaks to a player capable of making a sustained impact at the top level. Indeed, both Liverpool and Arsenal have already fallen victim to his ability in attack
So, it doesn’t exactly take a football genius to champion him as the club’s most important player.
However, the report in question about what it’s like to captain Villa has revealed Smith sees another level of importance to the player; one not so easily quantified by numbers.
Indeed, the Villa boss is understood to see Grealish as the club’s best motivator even if others - such as Tyrone Mings - tend to be more vocal on the pitch.
When handing his star midfielder the armband in March 2019, Smith spoke of his ‘leadership’ skills and how he’s the ‘future’ of the club.
Given some of his performances this season, it’s fair to say Smith was right.
- Sadly, another of Villa's players has been linked away
- Smith has unlocked another England star
- Suitable offers may have been accepted for Grealish this summer