GARETH SOUTHGATE has been boosted by the news that Jack Grealish could be set for a speedy return to first team action.
It was feared the Three Lions boss could be deprived of the Aston Villa ace for this month’s World Cup triple header against San Marino, Albania and Poland.
Jack Grealish is set to return for Aston Villa this weekendCredit: PA:Press Association
However, despite ruling him out of tomorrow’s visit to Sheffield United, Villa manager Dean Smith says Grealish is set to return to training this week and could even make a dramatic comeback in Saturday’s Midlands derby clash at home to Wolves.
“Jack will still be out for this game, because he’s still got pain with a certain movement he’s got,” said Smith ahead of the trip to Bramall Lane.
“But he could be training by the end of the week, I’m more hopeful on that.”
Asked if that could mean a rapid return for his talismanic skipper against Wolves as early as this Saturday, Smith was hopeful.
“Jack is fit enough at the moment,” he said. “He has only been out a short period of time.
“He was training a week Wednesday ago.
“If he gets out on the training ground he will be available for selection that is for sure.”
If Grealish does make it back for the Wolves game it will come as a relief to Southgate who was at Villa Park to watch him against Leicester City on February 21, until he withdrew from it with a leg injury.
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With James Maddison also fighting to regain fitness from a hip injury, a fully-fit Grealish would be a major bonus for the Three Lions.
Meanwhile, there was more good news on the injury front for Villa when Smith confirmed long-term absentee Wesley is finally seeing light at the end of a very long tunnel in his arduous road back to fitness.
The Brazilian international striker has spent 14 months on the sidelines since rupturing his ACL against Burnley on New Year’s Day 2020 but has now returned to contact training.
Smith said: “It has been a long, hard road back for him. We expected that, such was the extent of the injury.
“He managed his first small-sided game yesterday and we just have to slowly build that up for him. But it was good to see for everyone that he was involved.
“There will be some days he will get frustrated because he is not quite at the levels he wants to be. But there will be days he will be flying and feeling really good.
“As coaches and staff we just have to be patient and work hard with him.”