Jack Grealish’s strong links to Aston Villa are well-documented after the boyhood fan rose through the Villa academy to first-team prominence to now captaining Dean Smith’s side in the Premier League.
Grealish’s influence over Villa’s squad after returning from injury and captaining the side on a club-record winning streak to secure promotion via the play-offs from the Championship was a fairytale season for the 23-year-old.
One player who could excel in a captaincy role for Villa is central defender and summer signing Tyrone Mings, who was recently called up to the England squad by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate.
Mings has been a commanding presence in central defence for Villa since arriving on loan from Bournemouth in January 2019, playing a highly influential role in their promotion-winning campaign from the Championship to then secure a permanent deal for a fee that could rise to £26.5m.
Considering Mings has been learning his trade as a central defender from first-team coach and former England captain John Terry, there are certainly other beneficial insights that the central-defender could gain from Terry from the perspective of leadership and motivation.
It would represent a considerable risk for Smith to switch the captaincy midway through a season, with potential disruption to squad harmony a huge factor, but there is no doubt that Mings is a player with the ability to galvanise this Villa side with both his performances and his evident leadership qualities – on and off the field.
Smith would certainly be rolling the dice, but with so much at stake at Villa Park, especially after their considerable summer spending spree in which over £130m was spent and 13 new players arrived, the club cannot afford to get their returning campaign to the Premier League wrong.
In Mings, Smith could have a potential long-term captain at Villa Park, but taking the armband off Grealish would be a huge decision for the Villa boss to make.