I didn't want to write about this. In fact, despite having seen a story about Jack Grealish partying yesterday, I still didn't write about this. Mostly because I don't think that what a player does off the pitch matters. I ripped into the Sun for doing an exploitative piece on Gabby Agbonlahor earlier this year, and I wasn't about to dive in on the shocking tale of a 20-year-old who got drunk.
But now what happened off the pitch seems to have implications for what is happening on the pitch, as Grealish has seemingly been banished to train with the U21 squad, apart from the rest of the senior squad. Now, this may have been a temporary thing. Or it may be that Rémi Garde, with his back against the wall in a relegation-threatened Aston Villa, isn't taking discipline lightly.
Either way? I'm okay with it. And not because of the drinking. Instead, I'm okay with Grealish playing with the U21s because, in all honesty, he's played like a U21 player for most of the year. In the final months of last season, he stepped up and played some incredible football that helped Aston Villa avoid relegation. This year he's been largely a non-factor in matches.
Let's be clear: that's okay. He's only 20! But with Villa languishing in the far reaches of the table, we can't afford to be relying on players who aren't producing. So let him train with the U21s. Let him get a little shock and have to force his way back into selection with the senior side. Remind him that players must be constantly hungry to succeed at this game.
Whatever reasons Garde had for bumping Grealish to the U21 training, I don't really care. What I do care about is the fact that, given his performance this season, that's where he belongs. I love Jack Grealish to pieces, and I want nothing more than to see him become a massive superstar at Aston Villa. But right now he needs to work on the fundamentals of his game again so that he can become the asset we all know he will be.
Come back quickly, Jack. Force the decision. Make Rémi Garde pick you. We can't wait to have you back to the form we saw last year.