By Graham Hill
LEE HENDRIE reckons Jack Grealish showed he was ‘a man’ for not reacting to his attack at the hands of a pitch invader as St Andrew’s on Sunday.
Former Villa midfielder Hendrie knows Grealish well and says the incident shows how much the player – now captain of Villa – has matured.
Hendrie, working as a pundit with Sky Sports, said: “He’s a young man, he’s come to a hostile football ground, the first time he’s been to St Andrew’s.
“He’s been thumped in the face, he’s not realised what’s going on, it’s a massive derby game.
“But he showed so much character and class after that, because so many characters could have done into their shell.
“He has shown the ability he has to be a top player.
“Someone who has that happen to them in a game, 60 minutes in and you’re getting dragged off.
“All he had in his mind was to score that winner. He said it was set up for him – and it was set up.
“But he had to keep going and going. I actually don’t think he was man of the match, I thought Tyrone Mings was superb.
“Jack was man of the match though because he showed his experience – his manly ways came through and he’s going forwards.”
Grealish says boss Dean Smith’s decision to give Grealish the captain’s armband has also lifted the player and given him added responsibility.
Smith made Grealish skipper last week for the 4-0 win over Derby and told him to keep it for the St Andrew’s clash.
Hendrie added: “Armband on, that meant a hell of a lot to him.
“When he jumped into the fans after scoring, that makes me feel glad for Jack and for the team.”