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Grealish not ready to face Man Utd but stepping up training, says Dean Smith

Published on: 07 May 2021

Jack Grealish will not feature in Aston Villa's match against Manchester United on Sunday, but is to start training with his team-mates this weekend, says manager Dean Smith.

Club captain Grealish has missed Villa's last 11 matches due to a shin problem.

Smith told a press conference on Friday: "It will be 12 games that he misses. He's out on the grass loading the injury, so he's on his way back, but this game will be too soon for him.

"He starts training with the actual group tomorrow."

Grealish suffered a setback in his recovery last month.

Smith added: "As I've said many times, we want him back as soon as possible, but we've got to do it right as well.

"We obviously had a spike in his loading last time and we had a reaction, so we have to make sure that we're very conservative with our approach this time with it.

"He's itching to get back, we're itching to get him back, but we're led by the medical staff."

The England midfielder earlier this week said he hoped to be back in action in "a week to 10 days".

When asked if fans would see Grealish in a Villa shirt again before the end of the season, Smith said: "Yes, definitely."

Last weekend United's home match against Liverpool was postponed due to protests by United fans against the club's owners the Glazer family.

Events at Old Trafford included supporters invading the stadium, while fans also made their frustration known outside the team hotel.

The match was subsequently rearranged for next week, part of a run of three games in five days for United that starts with the clash at Villa Park.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side sealed a place in the Europa League final on Thursday as a 3-2 defeat at Roma saw them triumph 8-5 on aggregate.

Asked how much he thought all that had happened in terms of United over the last few days would affect Sunday's game, Smith said: "I don't think it will affect Manchester United.

"It's a big enough club, it's been dealing with European competition for the last 25 years, so it knows how to deal with that.

"We saw what happened at the weekend, with the Liverpool game being postponed, and while we respect everybody's right to protest, I echo Ole's statement after, suggesting you have to do it in the right way. We don't expect any more of those protests at the weekend.

"Manchester United have got a lot of games to play, they've got a cup final to look forward to now, and they'll be looking to cement their second-placed spot. They've done very well this season and we know we are coming up against a very
good team."

Smith did not comment on reports that Villa had offered to host the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea currently scheduled to take place in Istanbul on May 29.

Villa are understood to be distancing themselves from the reports.


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