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Dean Smith plays down drama over fantasy football leak of Jack Grealish’s injury

Jack Grealish file photo
(Image credit: Neil Hall)

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has drawn a line under any controversy surrounding Jack Grealish’s injury.

The manager was unhappy news of the skipper’s injury emerged on social media ahead of Sunday’s defeat to Leicester last week.

It inadvertently came from players and staff who transferred the midfielder out of their Fantasy Premier League teams.

Grealish remains missing for Villa’s trip to Leeds on Saturday with a shin problem and Smith has moved on from any debate.

“It must be a slow news week if this is the lead manager’s question,” Smith told a press conference.

“I don’t play it, I live in the real world not the fantasy world. Yes I was made aware of it.

“Am I aware that it could be tracked? No, I don’t think a lot of the other players and staff were as well but I’ve reminded everybody at the football club of their responsibilities of being a member of staff at an elite football club.

“I’m sure they won’t be certainly making that same mistake again after knowing what they know now.”

Smith remains hopeful Grealish could return for Tuesday’s trip to Sheffield United after sitting out the 2-1 defeat to the Foxes – the first Premier League match he had missed since November 2019.

“He’s getting better. He won’t be ready for tomorrow but he’s getting better,” he said.

“As I said last week, there’s been an awful lot of speculation where Jack is involved. People speculated how long he’s going to be out for – I’m not sure how they can do that when I don’t know, the doctor doesn’t know and Jack doesn’t know.

“I was very vague last week because it’s a bit of a strange injury. Jack could be back to play against Sheffield United next Tuesday or Wolves next week. We’ll be led by Jack on that.”

Matt Cash (hamstring), Kortney Hause (foot) and Wesley (knee) also remain out.

Villa sit eighth ahead of their trip to Elland Road, a point ahead of Leeds, and Smith believes the teams are evenly matched.

He added: “Leeds have hit the ground running and found that it’s a real tough league and you can be inconsistent. They’ve done fantastically well and there are similarities between how both teams play.”

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