Singling certain players out for criticism is never a classy business, but with relentless hype must come justification.
It is for this reason that Aston Villa’s apparent best hope, Jack Grealish, must begin to deliver consistently. Where his off-field attitude are concerned, the warning signs were there two years ago, as his moronic ‘Laughing Gas’ inhalation stunt went viral while his team was in the throes of an unprecedented losing run.
Inevitably, the more forgiving of Villa fans would have marked Grealish as a young and impressionable victim above all else. After all, he had shown sufficient potential at youth level to become an accomplished player under a good regime – which Aston Villa circa 2015 most certainly was not.
Since then, little has improved, and his performance in Sunday’s Second City derby was none too impressive. Now, Steve Bruce now has a very difficult decision to make over the youngster after he failed to become one of Villa’s famous derby day heroes.
Of course, had Jack Grealish been the winning influence in Sunday’s derby, such an event would not necessarily have guaranteed him a new lease of life. However, there are still very real examples of derby-winning players in the past becoming better integrated into their squad as a result of derby day heroics.
In this gallery below, we look at some derby day heroes who began their careers in earnest after being influential in winning the derby for their side!
Suspended for October’s reverse game at St Andrews, Jack Grealish had better grounds than anyone to perform above and beyond the call of duty. Now that opportunity to impress, and become a firm part of Bruce’s plans, is gone.
Up and coming youngsters should read this and take heed. Derbies can change careers more drastically than a lot of people can imagine. Speaking of derbies, here’s a starting XI that is certifiably invincible!