The Aston Villa owner Tony Xia has urged midfielder Jack Grealish to show focus and avoid going in the “wrong direction” following allegations surrounding his off-pitch lifestyle.
According to newspaper reports, the 22-year-old was in a group whose loud partying at a Birmingham hotel angered fellow guests in the early hours of Sunday morning, following Villa’s goalless draw at Ipswich.
Grealish, an England Under-22 international, recently signed a new four-year contract with Villa, the club Xia bought this year.
The newspaper report claimed fellow party-goers were inhaling nitrous oxide. There is no suggestion Grealish joined them in doing so.
It is not the first time that Grealish’s off-field conduct has been brought into question during his short career. In April 2015 he apologised to then Villa manager Tim Sherwood after being pictured inhaling from balloons at a party.
Last summer he was photographed lying on the ground, apparently drunk, while on holiday in Tenerife. The Villa academy product was then pictured on a night out just hours after a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Everton in November which led to former manager Remi Garde banishing him to the club’s Under-22 side.
Xia wrote on Twitter in a message to Grealish: “As I said b4, focus every minute on&off pitch, choose the right type of ppl 2be with.Don’t let ppl who trust u down!”
In subsequent messages, Xia added: “It’s not warning but just elder brother’s talk. I trust jack can really learn and be a MAN! Don’t go wrong direction.”
Grealish made just 16 Premier League appearances last season as the club were relegated but under the new manager, Roberto Di Matteo, he has made an encouraging start to the new campaign, scoring two goals in eight appearances and signing a new deal to keep him at Villa Park until 2020.