Thursday 18 January 2018

Jack's Wembley date

TIM Sherwood says he won't be afraid to try out Irish teenager Jack Grealish on the big Wembley stage in Sunday's FA Cup clash with Liverpool.

Grealish (right) took a step forward in his development last week when he made his first Premier League start, and the 19-year-old is in line for another chance in the starting XI because of Villa's injury woes, with Ireland man Ciaran Clark a major doubt for the semi-final.

But boss Sherwood insists he has no worries about the youngster's ability. "I don't think he's fazed. If I thought he was going to be a gamble, I wouldn't have done it," Sherwood said when asked about his decision to put Grealish into the starting XI in the last two games against QPR and Spurs.

"But Jack's got real ability, you can see that. He's got a big future at this football club. He's certainly at the right place.

"It was only his second start at Spurs and he's done nothing wrong at the moment. I don't know who else we can put out at Wembley, we are that bare at the moment but Jack won't let us down.

"We might have to tweak the way we play on Sunday. I'm not going tweak the way we play to suit Liverpool, but with the personnel we've got, it looks like I will have to tweak the way we play."

Sherwood is aware of Grealish's potential but he's also realistic enough to know that the midfielder will be in demand from other clubs should Villa get relegated, though the ex-Spurs boss is adamant that Villa Park is the best place for Grealish.

"We just need to stay in the Premier League," he says. "We know we've got hard work to do but if we do, then we strengthen in certain areas and we kick on."

Grealish has made 17 appearances for Villa this season and has featured in Cup wins over Blackpool, Bournemouth, Leicester and West Brom.

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