Dion Dublin: I helped this Aston Villa star come back from the brink
By Matt Farr
Former Aston Villa striker Dion Dublin has admitted to helping Jack Grealish shake off his troublemaker tag.
The 21-year-old midfielder had a turbulent start to his Aston Villa career, where he often made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, severely diminishing his reputation.
His controversial social antics also came at great risk to derailing his star potential, which would have been a great shame for a player that stormed onto the Premier League scene.
But Grealish has since shown significant improvement in his attitude both on and off the field, and that appears to be down to the advice of Dion Dublin.
Dublin, who scored 48 goals in 158 appearances for Villa, admitted to the Daily Star that he engaged with Grealish on Twitter, to offer him advice on how to improve his image.
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“With Jack, he’s had his misdemeanours and I’ve actually spoke to him on Twitter, on direct message,” he said.
“I said ‘get your head right’ and he came back and said ‘Dion, I’ve made a few mistakes and I’ve got to get back in the first-team and start doing well.’
“Two years ago he was setting the world alight. I hope now he’s grown up a bit and he knows to keep himself out of the mess he got in.
“He’s got to start to say to himself: ‘I’m a lucky man, I’m playing for Aston Villa and it’s a huge football club. Don’t ruin the chance I’ve got.'”
Ahead of Dublin’s social media rescue mission, Grealish was caught inhaling laughing gas with friends, and was involved in an all-night party at a hotel in Birmingham in September that had to be shut-down by police – among several other offences.
Since the hotel incident, the current England-U21 international has remained trouble-free, and has played an important role under Steve Bruce this season.
He has contributed three goals and four assists from 22 appearances in all competitions for Aston Villa this season.