Smith says UK govt. rules


Smith says UK govt. rules "confusing" after latest Grealish faux-pas

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Aston Villa manager Dean Smith's criticised the UK government's coronavirus regulations after a breach by Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley.

On-loan midfielder Barkley celebrated his 27th birthday at the weekend with a meal in the Mayfair district of London attended by Grealish.

London is currently in among the UK's tier-2 regions, meaning individuals from separate households who are not in a support bubble cannot meet in 'any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public space'.

"I think our government are confused about the messages that are going out there themselves so it makes it very difficult for everybody else as well," Smith told the media on Thursday.

"But it is difficult times for everybody at the moment and we have to respect the rules.

"Has this week been difficult to handle? No. I spoke about it yesterday and gave my opinions. I have reminded the players about their responsibilities and we have moved on."

Grealish is also believed to be the subject of an explicit photo doing the rounds on social media. Its origins are unknown.

It's not the first time during the pandemic that Grealish has found himself in trouble.

The midfielder was charged with driving without due care and attention, and failing to stop at a collision earlier this year.

Police were called to an incident on the morning of March 29 in the West Midlands region of England.

They were responding to reports that a Range Rover had crashed into two parked cars in the street.

Barkley will miss Saturday's West Midlands derby with Wolves at Molineux through injury, but Smith says Grealish will play after testing negative for COVID-19 this week.

"We are in a fortunate position that we get tested weekly so we obviously know where we are at and when people have to isolate," the Villa boss said.

"This is our bubble and it is something [last weekend's events] that we have moved on from.

"Jack (Grealish) provided a negative test on Monday so he is in the squad. Ross Barkley is still injured."

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Aston Villa Coronavirus Covid-19 Dean Smith Jack Grealish Ross Barkley

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