Alan Hutton has tipped Premier League rivals to copy Aston Villa by banning players from taking part in fantasy football games to avoid team news leaks.
The former Villa star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, suggested nobody had considered just how much potentially significant information could be garnered from players changing around their squads.
As reported by the Times, Villa have told their players to stop playing fantasy Premier League games after news of Jack Grealish’s absence circulated social media days in advance.
While there is no definitive answer as to where the ‘leak’ originated, it is thought the fact several Villa players and staff had ‘transferred’ the midfielder out of their fantasy squads pointed towards a potential issue at Bodymoor Heath.
Hutton admitted team leaks via an online game was a novel problem for managers to have to deal with and suggested other clubs would follow suit by stopping players from taking part.
Asked if he thought other clubs would follow Villa’s decision, Hutton told Football Insider: “Yeah, I think so, obviously nobody had thought about it before.
“As a situation, I think it was very similar with Alioski on Friday when Leeds played, it was the same kind of situation that arose so it’s kind of like insider information a little bit, isn’t it?
“If that’s the case and things are getting out, you have to stop that so I’m pretty sure that other clubs will be looking at this situation and thinking along the same lines that we must stop it.”
Sunday’s 2-1 defeat against Leicester was the first time Grealish has sat out a game for Villa this season.
Goals from James Maddison and Harvey Barnes were enough to seal victory for the Foxes despite Bertrand Traore’s second-half effort.