By Noel Whelan

1st Oct, 2019 | 5:51pm

Exclusive: Whelan claims Aston Villa players 'Crying out' for big name to 'Wake up'

Aston Villa players are “crying out” for Jack Grealish to really catch fire in the Premier League, according to Noel Whelan.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds United and Coventry City players claims the dressing room is desperate for Grealish, 24, to show what he is truly capable of.

Villa are 18th in the Premier League after winning just once in seven matches since their return to the top flight.

Club captain Grealish has played every minute of those seven games but he has yet to open his account for the campaign despite supplying two assists, against Arsenal and Bournemouth.

“Villa need more from Grealish, they really do,” Whelan told Football Insider. “He is doing okay, and doing good work around the midfield and carrying the ball forward.

“But he needs to step up to the plate and start scoring goals. He is an amazingly talented footballer and has so much to offer any team.

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“You know the Villa players are crying out for him to wake up and really live up to his incredible potential. John McGinn is the main player right now, not Grealish.

“The main thing missing from his repertoire is goals. A playmaker of his ability should be hitting 10 to 12 league goals a season, if not more.

“That’s what you want from the top attacking midfielder in your side.”

Grealish has graduated from the Villa youth ranks to make 154 appearances for the club, yielding 17 goals and 26 assists.

In other Aston Villa news, it can be REVEALED that the club have set their sights on a £20million-plus January signing.