Whelan shares verdict on Smith's Aston Villa position after super agent development

Noel Whelan believes Dean Smith is not under pressure despite a drop in form from Aston Villa. 

The former Leeds United hitman, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, was reacting to a major update on Smith’s future.

A well-placed Wolves source has told Football Insider that super agent Jorge Mendes is keen for Nuno Espirito Santo to take over at a club with greater financial resources and ambition.

It is understood Smith’s long-term future is not secure and Villa is regarded as a strong option for Nuno.

Football Insider revealed on 8th April that the Midlands giants have a “strong interest” in luring Steven Gerrard from Rangers.

Villa started the season well but their form has deteriorated since the turn of the year.

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Whelan claims this loss of form is down to the long-term absence of Jack Grealish, rather than anything Smith has done.

“From what I hear, I don’t think the pressure is there,” Whelan told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs.

“The players are still there and working hard. Sometimes you lose momentum in the season and it’s happened to them at the wrong time. 

“The loss of Grealish is huge. Sometimes you think how one player can make such a huge difference. 

“Well, look at Harry Kane at Spurs. Look at Kalvin Phillips at Leeds. Certain players make a difference. 

“The loss of Grealish has been huge. He’s the driving force, the catalyst. Just having that presence on the field gives his teammates belief. 

“Maybe Villa have lost a bit of belief.”

Grealish, 25, hasn’t featured for Villa since mid-February after picking up a leg injury.

Before his knock, he had contributed six goals and 12 assists in the Premier League.

In other news, a West Brom rising star has headed to Aston Villa after permission granted.