Dean Smith has done a sit down interview with Villa TV, where he discusses a number of important topics.
Words: Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
Speaking with VillaTV, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith sat down for an interview about what’s been worked on over the international break, Jack Grealish returning to the training pitch at Bodymoor Heath, Ollie Watkins and much more.
There were some interesting quotes from the Villa gaffer, especially when asked about Jack Grealish and his return from a shin injury.
“I think the fact that he’s been a pretty much regular on the team sheet for the two and a half years but it’s more to do with the form and the form he’s shown this season. His form has been up there with the top players in this league. I have no doubts that come Player Of The Season votes, Jack will be amongst that. To lose him for six games has been tough for everyone at Aston Villa. But he is one of them players now, who if he’s out…like I mentioned like Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne…if they come out of their teams, it affects them and it certainly affected us not having Jack.” Smith would go on to claim that seeing Grealish in training was “mouth-watering” and that they had to wait until the pain barrier was gone before they got him back into training.
Ollie Watkins was called up and scored on his debut for England, and Dean Smith was absolutely delighted saying, “Ollie’s come back with a big smile on his face as he always has anyway. He’s had a bit of laughing and joking with the players who have been ribbing him that he’s changed. But I can honestly say he’s someone who won’t change.”
John McGinn has been on fire with Scotland throughout this international break with three goals in three games. Dean Smith recognized the fantastic overhead kick that found its way in the back of the net earlier on in the week for Scotland: “I never thought he had an over kick in him, that’s for sure. He scored two good goals last night. It’s more of the John McGinn we like to see. He’s had to play a more defensive role at times this season for us and did that very well. But he’s been unleashed by Scotland and scored three goals.”
Smith’s comments on McGinn playing a “more defensive role at times” harks to a debate that has been prevalent within the online Aston Villa community. While Ross Barkley underperforms in the identifiable Number 10 position, some Villa supporters are crying out for McGinn to be used higher up the pitch due to his tenacity and work rate. It will be a curious case of these latest successful spells for Scotland will make Smith reconsider how he’s using McGinn from now until the end of the season.
Smith is looking forward to a difficult game against Fulham on Sunday but has praised a “good weeks training” for his players. Fulham currently sits in the drop zone, 18th on the table with 26 points and two away from safety. But, the Villa gaffer knows and remembers the feeling of trying to get out of danger in the Premier League last season.
“They’re a better team than their position shows. We went there our second game of the season, won 3-0 and they wern’t great defensively. I’m sure they’ll be the first to admit that. They’ve improved defensively, they’re a very good football team. They have Good individuals all over the pitch, we have to make sure we don’t get caught 1v1’s, they’re very good in them areas high up the pitch. It’s gonna be a tough game, they’re fighting for their lives. We was there last season and we know how hard it was for us to fight and they’ll certainly do that.”
You can watch the entire interview with Dean Smith at https://video.avfc.co.uk/