Grealish hailed by Villa boss after Newcastle display

Aston Villa

Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has been lauded for his maturity by manager Dean Smith after starring against Newcastle on Monday.

The playmaker was welcomed back to action after four weeks out with a calf injury sustained in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad last month.

He started the game wide on the left-hand side and was instrumental in helping the home side beat Newcastle 2-0 to end their run of three straight losses.

The 24-year-old and Conor Hourihane combined well for the first goal as the Irishman bent in a free-kick at the near post.

Hourihane then provided the delivery for Anwar El Ghazi to score from close range to make the scoreline 2-0 going into half time.

Grealish spurned several chances in the second half to put the game beyond any reasonable doubt but he was the star performer as Villa climbed up to 15th in the table, only one point and place below Newcastle.

After the game, the academy graduate revealed in an interview his favoured position is in midfield as opposed to out wide where Villa have tended to use him this season.

However, Smith felt it was a good reaction from his skipper and has praised his increasing maturity after the game.

“He can play as part of a two in midfield, play as a 10, play as an eight when we play a one and two (an attacking midfielder behind two strikers), he can play left, he can play right.

“I just feel at the moment, for the balance of the team, it (left-wing) is a really good position for him. That’s the thing a mature Jack knows now, that he is doing a job for the team by being there.”

Grealish has scored four goals in 13 appearances across all competitions this season and will hope to guide Villa through a very tough-looking run of fixtures before the Christmas period.

They go away to Manchester United and Chelsea, then face Leicester at home, before travelling to Bramall Lane to take on Sheffield United.