'I expect Grealish will get drunk with me tonight!' - Smith silent on midfielder's future after Villa escape drop

Jack Grealish, Aston Villa
The 24-year-old midfielder has been the subject of repeated transfer talk, but he and his manager are focused only on their imminent celebrations

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith is planning a long, boozy night with star midfielder Jack Grealish - but that is as far as his plans for the player's future go.

Grealish netted Villa's only goal on Sunday as they claimed a 1-1 draw away to West Ham United to secure their place in the Premier League at the expense of Bournemouth and Watford, who join Norwich City in the Championship next season

The midfielder struck late to put his side ahead, but Andriy Yarmolenko hit back instantly to ensure a nervy final few minutes for the visitors, with Bournemouth's victory over Everton meaning they needed at least a point to avoid returning to the Championship. 

Survival will give Villa a huge boost in their efforts to retain the services of Grealish, who has been closely linked to Manchester United as his side has battled the drop in recent months. 

But Smith is only thinking about the raucous celebrations that will follow, in which he expects the 24-year-old to play a big part. 

"I have lost my voice. I expect Jack Grealish to get drunk with me tonight... that's all I can say," he joked to BT Sport following the final whistle.

"I will speak to the owners tomorrow."

Smith was able to turn around a torrid run of eight defeats in 10 matches just in time for Villa, finishing the season with wins over Crystal Palace and Arsenal and draws with the Hammers and Everton to escape relegation. 

And while the Birmingham side were far from impressive in their last game of the season, the manager praised his charges for doing just enough when it really counted.

"I didn't think we were great, but we defended resolutely. Defences were on top. [It is] a magnificent achievement from everyone," he added.

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"We had to concentrate on this game. We were up throughout the whole game. Jack [Grealish] was due one and he scored a magnificent goal.

"I was brought up a Villa fan. It is a proud moment and feels better than going up last season. It was a big change we had to make at the football club.

"We had to build a new team, a new squad. We used the pandemic to the best. I lost my father through that period and there was a lot of disappointment, but we knew we had to work hard.