Grealish 'holding his own' for Villa

Aidan Fitzmaurice

IRELAND U-21 cap Jack Grealish is pushing hard for a place in the Aston Villa first team for next season, according to Villa boss Paul Lambert.

The Villa Park chief was not too impressed with his senior players as they lost 3-1 to Paul Cook's Chesterfield in a pre-season friendly last night, though he did claim that jet lag was a factor following their return from a tour of the USA.

Irish lads Samir Carruthers and Graham Burke started for Villa while Gealish and Enda Stevens came on as half-time subs, and teenager Grealish made an impact despite the scoreline, though former Shamrock Rovers man Eoin Doyle caught the eye for Chesterfield, setting up one of their goals.

"He's done really well, and he did really well on the tour," said Lambert of Grealish. "Last night gave me a chance to see some of the young ones that you don't get to see as much.

"Some of them did well but some of them found it tough and it shows how far they have got to go. Jack has more than held his own and he did well in this game. What I am looking for is for Jack to give me problems in terms of team selection.

"I want this kid to go and do something. He's never ever disgraced himself, not in America, not against Chesterfield He can handle it and he is enjoying his football.

"He's still a young kid learning the ropes and he's got a lot of big players in front of him but you've got to try and get into that group. He's done his chances no harm at all."

Meanwhile, Irish 'keeper Brian Murphy impressed for QPR last night as he pulled off two top-class saves to earn a 0-0 draw with Southend United, who used Irish trialists Gary Deegan and Patrick Cregg in the game.