Leeds United have been handed a big boost against Aston Villa after Jack Grealish was ruled out through injury, according to Noel Whelan.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the attacking midfielder would be a significant loss for the Villans and insisted the Whites need to take advantage.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash, Dean Smith confirmed the 25-year-old would be forced to sit out at Elland Road due to a lower leg injury.
Smith on Jack Grealish: “He won’t be ready for tomorrow.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) February 26, 2021
Marcelo Bielsa admitted he had hoped Grealish would be fit enough to play as he felt it would motivate his players.
However, Whelan has suggested the Leeds squad will be pleased knowing they will not have to deal with the Aston Villa talisman.
“Look, you always want to play against the best teams, who have the best team possible to go and pit your wits against them,” Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.
“I think that’s probably what Bielsa’s thinking, what he’s meaning.
“Look, whenever you can get a helping hand and one of their star players is out when you’re coming up against them, that can only be a positive for Leeds.
“He’s a player that can create chances, he drives Villa forward, he’s their captain.
“To lose a captain and someone as influential as Jack Grealish in the Villa side, it’s like when we played Leicester without Jamie Vardy.
“Very similar, you’ve got to take it as it is and see that as a plus point that he’s not in the squad.”