Grealish fined £5,000 for Twitter rant
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has fined winger Jack Grealish a week’s wages – around £5,000 – and warned him to focus on football after the teenager vented his frustration about a lack of playing time on Twitter.
The Irish U-21 international, who has yet to decide on his international future at senior level, tweeted that he wants to “be happy playing football again” and a furious Lambert is now considering further punishment by leaving him out of the squad for tomorrow’s FA Cup tie against Bournemouth.
The highly rated 19-year-old has had limited first-team opportunities under Lambert, despite signing a four-year contract in October to kill off interest from Chelsea and Tottenham.
Although Grealish later deleted the tweet, Lambert has fined him and told him to stay off the social networking site. When asked if he had spoken to Grealish, Lambert said: “Yes, I wasn’t happy. I think he should stay off tweeting. I told him to concentrate on football. I don’t think anybody needs to know he’s boiling an egg. He’s had a virus this week, his first day back was Friday so I’ll see how he is before the game.”
Grealish previously generated headlines on the basis of his Twitter activity by posting supportive messages ahead of Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifiers even though he refused an invitation from Martin O’Neill to train with the group in September with England still on his mind.
Lambert is facing a potentially difficult afternoon against the Championship league leaders, with the two clubs going into the game with drastically different records.
While Villa have only scored seven goals at home and an alarming 11 in 22 matches this season, Bournemouth will arrive as the highest scorers in the four divisions with 57 goals.
Aston Villa v Bournemouth,
Live, BBC1/Setanta Ire, tom 3.00