Aston Villa boss Smith: Grealish knows defenders will target him

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Aston Villa boss Dean Smith says skipper Jack Grealish is used to being a “targeted" man after he came in for rough treatment during Saturday's defeat to Brighton.

Grealish was awarded seven free-kicks against the Seagulls and Smith later described the 25-year-old, the most fouled player in the Premier League this season, as having been kicked “from pillar to post".

But while Grealish's profile has never been higher, following his recent England breakthrough, Smith believes such treatment is nothing new.

He said: “I felt Brighton tried to stop Jack but he still created chances.

“He got kicked from pillar to post at times but I still believe we are creating good chances that should have helped us win. It hasn't stopped since I first came to this club, Jack Grealish is a targeted man."