Jack Grealish could return to action for Aston Villa as early as next week, raising hopes he will be available for England’s World Cup qualifiers in a month’s time.
The Villa skipper missed his team’s 2-1 defeat by Leicester last Sunday with what is believed to be a shin problem, with boss Dean Smith hopeful Grealish will be back quickly after a period of rest.
He said: ‘He won’t be available against Leeds (on Saturday) but he could be back for Sheffield United on Tuesday – that’s how the injury is. It’s not long-term.
‘I know I was a little bit vague last week but I can’t speculate. I don’t know, Jack doesn’t know and the doctor doesn’t know how long this will be. The latest is that he’s still got a little bit of pain, not too much.’
Grealish, impressed on his first outings for England last autumn and, if fit, would be a certainty to be named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for next month’s World Cup qualifying triple header.
Smith also warned club staff of the dangers of playing Fantasy Football after some of its participants appeared to become aware that Grealish would be missing from the Leicester game before the teams were announced.
The Villa boss added: ‘I made everybody aware that they have a responsibility to Aston Villa.
‘Nobody knew their accounts were being tracked and they certainly won’t make the same mistake again. I live in the real world, not a fantasy world so I don’t play it.’