By Graham Hill
DEAN Smith was so impressed with Villa winger Andre Green he tried to sign him for Brentford.
Green has found him back in the picture at Villa Park since Smith took over as manager.
Portsmouth had Green on loan and playing in League One when Steve Bruce was in charge.
But Smith recalled him and saw him as a key part of his squad.
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett revealed that Smith was always a fan of Green.
Jackett told portsmouth.co.uk: “I think Dean had tried to sign him when he was at Brentford and was quite keen on him.
“He went in as Villa boss and maybe put his own stamp on it with one or two of his own players and a couple underneath given more opportunity.“I knew Dean had tried to sign him and had an interest.”
And it is easy to see why Smith felt he could get the best out of the 20-year-old.
Since returning to Villa, he scored against Sheffield United in the memorable 3-3 draw.
And he has also played an important part in Villa’s bid to stake their claim to a play-off place in recent weeks.
The likes of John McGinn and Jack Grealish may have been in the spotlight during Villa’s six match winning run – and seven unbeaten in the Championship.
But it was Green who set up McGinn for the all important equaliser at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. And from there, Villa went on to claim another crucial three points.