Jack Grealish was a notable absentee for Aston Villa in Sunday afternoon’s defeat to Leicester City, ending his run of 48 consecutive Premier League appearances, according to BBC Sport.
There was no official word on Grealish’s condition until Sky Sports announced his leg injury an hour before kick-off, but Dean Smith was angry at the news being leaked on social media earlier.
Matt Targett, Conor Hourihane, Neil Taylor and two members of the backroom staff were believed to have taken Grealish out of their Fantasy Premier League teams, fuelling the rumours that he was going to miss the Leicester clash.
That ended up being true and Smith opted for Anwar El Ghazi in his absence. Villa missed the 25-year-old and lost 2-1 on the day, but the Claret and Blues manager vowed to reprimand the person(s) that inadvertently leaked the news.
He said: “I was made aware on social media there were rumours he was not going to play. If that is coming out of our training ground I will find out where it is coming from and reprimand whoever it is coming from. It is something I would not be happy with.”
BBC Sport believe Grealish could be out of action for up to a month, meaning he would miss Leeds United (February 27), Sheffield United (March 3), Wolverhampton Wanderers (March 6), Newcastle United (March 13) (official website), but Smith was optimistic and hopes he’ll have his playmaker back much soon.
He added: “I am an eternal optimist and I’ll hope he is back for Leeds next week but I’ll leave it to the medical staff.” Time will tell if Grealish returns so quickly, however.
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Leicester named two defenders on the right-hand side against Villa, likely because they expected Grealish to start, so the Foxes didn’t assume the rumours were true.
Nevertheless, it’s understandable why Smith doesn’t want leaks from the training camp if he’s requested something stay quiet.
It does seem like an honest mistake from club personnel changing their Fantastic Premier League teams without thinking, however.