Hourihane’s comments on Jack Grealish aren’t necessarily a negative thing.

Words: Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH

Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane seems to be a massive Jack Grealish fan, which is a pretty popular thought if you even slightly follow the path of Aston Villa in the past few seasons. And it’s not to say the Irish midfielder is sponsoring Grealish to move on, as some supporters like to believe.

Hourihane has yet again commented on the future of Grealish, speaking with Sky Sports: “Jack’s obviously hugely talented, he’s our talisman and he’s had a fantastic season. He’s been linked with so many clubs, lots of top teams around Europe. It’s going to be a tough summer and a tough decision for Jack.”

Villa supporters on social media have been a bit comedic when it comes to Hourihanes’ opinions of Villa’s star man.

On one hand, Villa fans certainly beam insatiably when pundits heap praise upon Grealish. There is an air of “where have you been? Jack has been amazing for a few seasons now!” It’s almost borderline braggart bravado mixed with intense pride. As it should be.

The other side of the coin tells an entirely different story. When a teammates who undoubtedly has respect and admiration for Jack speaks out about what the future will hold, sarcastic and unfounded opinions start to emerge.

“Didn’t know Hourihane was Jacks agent!”

“Hourihane should focus on his own game!”

“Why does Hourihane seem like he wants Jack to leave?”

An interesting take on an old addage of sport: your best player is meant to be yours. Until they are not anymore. That’s a reality that Villa supporters cannot wrap their head around. It goes without saying, Grealish is miles better than to be at a club that are currently 19th in a unprecedented Premier League season.

With the ongoing and forever burdening saga that shadows Grealish and his future at Villa comes a lot of question marks. No bigger question than where and when Grealish will ultimately depart. Hourihane and his opinions of his teammate isn’t an endorsement or a push out of the door. He is saying what should have been abundantly clear for a good while now: Grealish is good enough to play for a better team. Not a better club, just a currently better overall team.

This isn’t a detriment to Villa as one of the largest and long-standing football clubs in England. It’s reality.

There may be ten games left of the Premier League current season, but the run of games that are left (if they are to be played) does not favour the claret & blue. It would be a monumental change of what we’ve seen this season from Aston Villa to somehow drag themselves out of the relegation zone and into Premier League safety. There are no guarantees that Grealish stays at Villa if the Villans manage to stay in the top-flight.

Hourihane isn’t wrong or out of order by praising and acknowledging the ability of Jack Grealish. Most are aware of the stylish midfielder and his ability to control a game. His likely departure folded into the uncertainty of what happens after at Villa genuinely worries their supporters.

Grealish coming of age on the football pitch is Aston Villa’s Pandoras Box. Once the contents of the box are revealed, there is no way to hide it away again. The footballing ability of Grealish has been on display for the world to see this season. What the future holds is anyone’s guess, but Hourihane is surely not alone in realizing what Villa have been lucky to have for some time now. 

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