By Graham Hill
JACK Grealish knows he could have been playing for Tottenham on Saturday but insists: ‘Everything happens for a reason’.
Grealish is set to skipper Villa on their return to the Premier League – and it is common knowledge that he almost moved to the North London club last summer.
Only the intervention of new owner Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris – who refused to sell Grealish – stopped the deal.
But Grealish now knows he is part of a stronger Villa side – and one that is hugely different to the shambles of a squad that was relegated three years ago after a toxic season.
Grealish told TalkSport: ”The club’s changed massively.
“The manager, chief exec, new owners, the squad is completely different. It’s changed for the good, we’re a young, energetic team and hopefully we can have a good season overall.”
But Grealish insists he does not want a season that will see Villa merely surviving in the top flight – he wants to follow in Wolves’ footsteps and qualify for Europe.
The Villa skipper added: ”I had a chat with the manager in America in pre-season and he completely agreed with me.
“I said I don’t want to come into the Premier League just to survive relegation, I don’t want to come 17th, 16th, I want to finish as high as possible.
“Look at Wolves last season, I know they’re our neighbours but, I think what they’ve done, you can only give them credit, the players, the staff, they came into the Premier League last year, didn’t change their team too much, came in with no fear and played brilliant football – and have obviously ended up in the Europa League. I don’t see why we can’t do that.
“I’m really excited. It shows a lot of ambition from the owners, from the manager. We’ve been playing all pre-season and the players have come in and have put their foot down and have started working hard. You can see how much quality they have.”