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'Jack Grealish needs to live like a monk to fulfil his true potential'

New Villa assistant manager Ray Wilkins has some advice for the midfielder.

Grealish and Villa are currently in Portugal.
Grealish and Villa are currently in Portugal.
Image: Aston Villa FC/Twitter

ASTON VILLA’S MANAGEMENT team have told Jack Grealish he needs to ‘knuckle down’ and ‘live like a monk’ if he is to fulfil his full potential as a footballer.

The Republic of Ireland underage international was disciplined by the Premier League club after pictures of him lying on a street in Tenerife whilst on holiday were circulated on social media last month.

Speaking on the club’s pre-season tour of Portugal, new Villa assistant manager Ray Wilkins echoed the sentiments of Tim Sherwood by advising the 21-year-old to put his head down and work hard over the next couple of years.

“To live like a monk,” Wilkins said when asked what advice he would give Grealish after the incident. “I lived like a monk from 17 probably through to 25. Very little booze and worked.

“What do you want in life? The only way you can be a professional footballer is to graft your balls off. If you have that natural talent that Jack has – at 19, he can be fitter than 95 per cent of midfield players – he is a massive asset.”

Grealish’s stock soared considerably during the second-half of last season as he became a regular under Sherwood and his performance against Liverpool in the FA Cup semi-final demonstrated his burgeoning potential.

The Ireland U21 international missed the weekend’s 3-1 defeat to Fulham as he continues to nurse a hamstring complaint.

“Tim wants him as fit as a flea and that’s the way you have to be,” Wilkins added. “Messi is not Messi because he tosses it off. Let’s get it right as well, he is a young man on holiday and people always balloon that.

“Let’s forget that, done. We’ve all been there. We’ll get him fit and he will be an asset to the squad.”

Aston Villa begin their Premier League campaign away to Bournemouth on Saturday 8 August.

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Ryan Bailey

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