Aston Villa have perfect Jack Grealish back-up in Indiana Vassilev
Given Jack Grealish’s outstanding performances over the past few years for Aston Villa, it’s no surprise he’s become an England international and someone linked with a mega money move to Manchester United.
It’s a major testament to how the boyhood Villa star has grown, and this Premier League campaign has seen him continue where he left off last – he’s managed five goals and provided nine assists in 15 top-flight games.
But Villa boss Dean Smith will no doubt be keen to ensure that the club have a ready made back-up or understudy for their talisman, and in Indiana Vassilev they have exactly that.
Should Villa give Vassilev a chance?
Currently out on loan at League One side Burton Albion, the 19-year-old showed in his time with Villa’s academy sides that he’s very much a bright talent.
Capable of playing anywhere across the front line and even further back as a number ten, the teenager has got all the technical skills in his locker to become a real force for Smith.
Rusty Scarborough who headed up the IMG academy back when Vassilev was there, said: “On the field, you know he’s out there, he’s a leader, people follow him. The technical aspect he’s developed at a young age so now he’s phenomenal on the ball, passing, dribbling, shooting, heading, receiving.”
And adding to that, another coach from IMG, Kevin Hartman, declared: “He’s got great leadership qualities and he’s got an undying desire to win every time he plays. That competitiveness is an attribute that I think every coach is going to be looking for and it really drives development.
“His future is boundless. He has all the physical capabilities of a top level player. The attributes and the characteristics that he has within are the ones that will drive his development. I don’t see a limit to what he can achieve.”
In 26 games for the club’s U23s, he bagged seven goals and provided a further two assists, and what makes Vassilev a really intriguing option as an understudy to Grealish, is the leadership qualities people are raving about.
Grealish has been Villa’s talisman for a long time now, and it’s no surprise that he’s taken on the mantle of being club captain too. He leads by example on the pitch, and that’s something Vassilev will have to develop as the years go by.
So when Vassilev returns from loan at the end of the season, Smith may opt to give the 19-year-old a chance to learn from Grealish and follow in his footsteps. He’s got a long way to go to match the captain, but judging by what people have been saying about him, he’s got every chance of doing so.