GREAL LEADER

DEAN SMITH sees Jack Grealish’s captaincy style as being straight out of the John Terry book.

The Aston Villa boss says Grealish is not afraid to fight his corner — as he showed at Burnley on Wednesday night.

Jack Grealish stood toe-to-toe with Burnley assistant Ian Woan on Wednesday night

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Jack Grealish stood toe-to-toe with Burnley assistant Ian Woan on Wednesday nightCredit: Mark Robinson – The Sun
The Villa captain was confronted by the Burnley assistant boss

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The Villa captain was confronted by the Burnley assistant bossCredit: Mark Robinson – The Sun

And he knows that is one of the things that made Villa coach Terry a success with the armband at Chelsea.

Grealish was involved in a row with Clarets assistant Ian Woan at the end of Villa’s 3-2 defeat at Turf Moor.

Smith tried to calm down his star but insists he admires that sort of commitment to the captain’s role.

The Villa boss said: “Jack took umbrage to comments made by their first-team staff from the bench — and told them.

“I don’t see that as over-commitment, I see that as him backing himself. I’m quite pleased he’s got the strength of character to do that. It’s great.

“When you look at the top captains who have been out there, we’ve got one of the most successful captains in the Premier League working on our coaching staff.

“He would have done exactly the same. Jack looks at all the captains but who better to take inspiration from than JT because of his success?”

As well as being a key Villa player, Grealish — who put Villa 2-1 in front midway through the second half at Burnley — has thrown himself into the role of being skipper.

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The England midfielder, 25, looked crestfallen when he was subbed near the end of his side’s 2-0 win over Newcastle last Saturday.

Smith said: “I don’t think you can be too over-committed to a captain’s role.

“I saw a disappointed lad come off the pitch against Newcastle — he wants to play in every minute of every game.

“In this game we have at the moment, there’s probably not enough players who want to play every minute. He’s one of the exceptions and it’s great to see.”

Smith takes his side to Southampton tonight, with new signing Morgan Sanson in the squad.

The French midfielder, 26, joined Villa in a £15.75million deal from Marseille.

Morgan Sanson arrived at Villa from Marseille this week

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Morgan Sanson arrived at Villa from Marseille this weekCredit: PA:Press Association

Smith added: ‘I’ve only worked with him for 45 minutes on Thursday.

“He’s settled in really well. I hope his adaptation will be quick and he’ll certainly travel down to Southampton with the squad.

“He’s got a big-game mentality and has played at the top of the French league for the last five years — and in the Champions League. He is a great technician with great tactical awareness.

“He can play in a number of positions, can set up goals and can score goals. He has a bit of everything in his game, so we’re really pleased with the acquisition.”

Smith says Villa cannot afford to let games slip as they did at Burnley.

He said: “I want to entertain and win but prefer to win more than anything.

“We’ve played a team twice and had 45 shots against them and only picked up one point. I was very disappointed about that.”

Several success stories have come from January transfers
Several success stories have come from January transfers
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