By Graham Hill
DEAN Smith says Jack Grealish is ‘thriving’ on being made Villa captain.
Grealish was a surprise choice for the captain’s armband when he was chosen by Villa manager Smith a month ago.
That came on his return to action against Derby County following a three-month injury lay-off with a shin problem.
Grealish responded by scoring one of the goals of the season in a convincing 4-0 win at Villa Park.
After that, he scored the only goal of the game against Blues despite being punched bu a pitch invader at St Andrew’s.
And, under Grealish’s captaincy, Villa have put together a run of five successive wins going into the game at Sheffield Wednesday.
Smith told Villa’s official TV channel: “When I first came here, I soon saw he was a lot more mature than perhaps the perception I had before.
“He’s certainly taken on the responsibility of being the leader of the group really well.
“He thrives on it. His performances have shown that.
“Off the pitch, he looks like he’s enjoying that responsibility. It’s made him a more rounded person.
“He’s very respectful. He likes looking after the players – whether that be sorting out their tickets or making sure they know what time they have to be somewhere. He’s doing really well at the job.”