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Friday 9 December 2016

Arsenal should be having sleeplessness nights facing Jack Grealish, warns Villa star Ashley Westwood

Jack Grealish has yet to decide whether he will play for the Ireland or England national team
Jack Grealish has yet to decide whether he will play for the Ireland or England national team

Ashley Westwood has warned Arsenal they should be having sleepless nights before facing Jack Grealish and Christian Benteke.

The midfielder has backed the Republic of Ireland Under 21 international to terrorise the Gunners in Saturday's FA Cup final.

Grealish shone during Villa's semi-final at Wembley, setting up Delph's winner, and Westwood believes the 19-year-old is in line for stardom.

"He's a special talent, the way he just glides past you in training, you feel like whacking him, he floats past you with his hair," said the 25-year-old. "He's a great lad, I'm sure he could be our match winner at the end of the day.

"He's a Villa fan, Villa through and through, he said he used to stand on the Holte End, to have a fan in your team, that's what you'd want on FA Cup final day. But he does need to forget he's a fan, he's a professional player now.

"In training, as soon as you saw him you knew he had something. On that FA Cup semi-final the whole world was watching him, and I thought he was man of the match.

"He believes in his ability and so he should, he's a special talent and he's got the world at his feet. If he can keep playing like that, he can go anywhere."

Benteke has 12 goals in his last 12 games heading into the Wembley showdown, including one in their 2-1 semi-final win over Liverpool in April to fire Villa into their first FA Cup final for 15 years.

And Westwood believes Benteke has his fear factor back after struggling for form and fitness before Tim Sherwood's arrival, following an Achilles injury over a year ago.

He said: "I'm sure he does. I think he's back to full fitness now, he was struggling with his Achilles early on and people didn't see that, they just expected him to walk back in and fire in the goals.

"But he's back to his best now, bullying defenders and I'm sure they'll have sleepless nights, they won't want to be playing against him.

"We know how good we are, if we play like we can do we can match anyone. We've got internationals throughout the team, Fabs (Fabian Delph) and Clevs (Tom Cleverley) are on form, Christian is a real handful for anyone, I'm sure they'll be having sleepless nights about him."

Benteke spearheaded Villa's recovery under Sherwood as they survived in the Barclays Premier League, eventually finishing 17th following Sunday's 1-0 final-day defeat to Burnley.

He and Jack Grealish were trusted by Sherwood to keep Villa up with academy product Grealish becoming a regular.

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