By support

18th Apr, 2017 | 8:50am

Bruce issues challenge to Aston Villa midfielder, it is important he understands this

By Matt Farr

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has challenged midfield troublemaker Jack Grealish to knuckle down and be a top-class professional.

Grealish, 21, has been met with a number of off-the-field controversies since breaking into the first team squad at Villa Park, raising questions over his potential to become a top professional.

The England U21 international was caught allegedly inhaling laughing gas in April 2015, before later being subject to an internal disciplinary investigation by the club into his appearance at a party shut down by police in September last year.

He has been repeatedly urged to change his off-field persona, but Bruce has once again echoed previous advice by challenging him to knuckle down.

Grealish netted a superb 25-yard strike for Aston Villa during their 3-1 defeat to Fulham on Monday, and Bruce believes it is important he understands takes more than just ability to become a top professional.

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He told the Birmingham Mail: “He’s got to be a better professional and stop hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons.

“When he scores a goal like that and reminds us about his ability then of course we’re going to talk about him. But it’s important he understands that he needs to knuckle down and do the other side of it.

“That’s the hardest road for Jack to go down – to be a top-class professional and be as good as he can. If he’s got that and does that then he’s got an outstanding chance. He’s got a big 12 months.”

Grealish ultimately struggled to cope with the Premier League limelight, but has shown signs of improvement in his personal life since the club dropped down to the Championship.

Aside from the aforementioned incident in September, Grealish has remained largely focused on refining his image at the club on the playing field this season, where he has contributed four goals and five assists.

But the exciting winger has started just one of his last 10 appearances in the matchday squad for Aston Villa in the Championship, hinting there is still plenty of work to be done.

In other Aston Villa news, here is how fans reacted on Twitter to Jonathan Kodjia’s red card against Fulham.

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