Whelan: Purslow may be about to make a 'massive' Aston Villa mistake

Getting rid of Dean Smith would be a “silly mistake” from the Aston Villa board, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Premier League striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 50-year-old had proven himself as a “great manager” during his time at the club.

As revealed by Football Insider, Villa are considering a manager change in the medium-to-long term in order to meet the owners’ lofty ambitions.

It is understood the Villans have a “strong interest” in Rangers manager Steven Gerrard as a possible replacement.

Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris, Villa’s owners, want to establish the club as regular top-four contenders, with hope of a top-six finish this term.

A Villa source told Football Insider chief executive Christian Purslow, who effectively runs the club, does not see Smith as “big enough” to achieve their goal.

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Whelan insisted the Villans needed to be “realistic” in their aim and that getting rid of Smith would be “rash”.

“You look for progression every season and every year,” Whelan told Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge.

“That’s exactly what happened with Dean Smith over the past season. There’s been a massive change. It’s one of these jobs where owners, again, making rash decisions. He’s a great manager.

“He’s a great manager to have, you can see that. Players are playing for him, why would you change something that’s not broken. They’ve got to be realistic right now. It’s not easy to break into that top-six.

“You’ve got to test the likes of Everton. They have spent a lot of money and are going to improve next season. Sometimes you’ve got to give somebody a little bit longer and put some money in front of him to go and improve.

“Then, if it’s not happening, you can make that decision. Right now, that’d be a silly, silly mistake by Villa.”

In other news, Alan Hutton is gutted after talking to Jack Grealish about his injury amid Aston Villa setback.