Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce claims that star playmaker Jack Grealish is 'every penny a £30m footballer' after returning to first team action with the club following a failed move to Tottenham during the transfer window.
The 22-year-old was heavily linked with a move to north London throughout the summer, with Spurs reportedly willing to pay up to £25m for his signature after the Villians missed out on promotion in the play-off final.
Unfortunately for Grealish and Tottenham fans alike, the proposed move never got off the ground and the midfielder quickly returned to action against Wigan Athletic, having also started for Aston Villa five days prior in their comfortable win over Hull City.
Speaking after their last-gasp win at Villa Park on Saturday, manager Bruce praised Grealish for being "head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch" and claimed that the midfielder is worth 'every penny' of his £30m price tag.
"He is a natural and he draws a foul because he beats you," Bruce said, quoted by the Daily Mail. "And how good is that, we don't see it very often. But [referees] have to protect him.
"He reproduced the form that he produced last year that made him into a £30m footballer and he looked it today, every penny a £30m footballer. For me, he was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch. That's how good he was."
Villa eventually snatched all three points against Wigan thanks to a late goal from Iceland international Birkir Bjarnason, putting the club level on points with Swansea City and Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United in the Championship table.