Scottish Daily Mail



JACK GREALISH reckons the return of ‘little bulldog’ John McGinn can give Aston Villa the bite they need to secure Premier League survival. The Scotland internatio­nal has not played a competitiv­e match since suffering a fractured ankle in a 3-1 defeat against Southampto­n on December 22. However, the 25-year-old is now back in full training and in contention for Villa’s first match since the Covid-19 outbreak hit, against Sheffield United on June 17. Club captain Grealish insists McGinn already looks back to his combative, bubbly self — and insists his presence back on the grass has given the entire club a lift as they seek to escape the drop zone. ‘We’ve obviously had to be a bit cautious with him because we don’t want him overdoing it after a long time off,’ said Grealish. ‘He looks back to his normal self. Everyone knows he’s like a little bulldog when he’s on the pitch and he’s certainly been like that in training. ‘I can’t give him enough credit. I know everyone says he runs around and has legs, but he isn’t just about that. He has class about him as well. He’s one of those players you don’t appreciate until you play alongside him and he’s like that in the changing room as well. ‘Even the first day he came back into training, he just gave everyone a lift because he’s such a popular figure in the dressing room. ‘He always puts a smile on everyone’s face at the club.’ Villa resume action in 19th spot, two points adrift of safety but with the benefit of a game in hand over all of their nearest rivals. And, with McGinn back in their ranks,

Grealish firmly believes they can engineer a great escape. He told talkSPORT: ‘There’s so much belief we can stay up — and I’m not just saying that. ‘I was speaking to the manager (Dean Smith) yesterday about how good we’re looking as a team in training, fitness-wise and with the ball from this week. ‘It’s all in our hands. That’s what I have been saying to everyone in the dressing room. ‘We’ve got the game in hand and if we win that we’re out of the bottom three.’

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