Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish has apologised for breaking coronavirus lockdown rules.
The midfielder said in a video message on Twitter he is “deeply embarrassed” after he “stupidly agreed” to go to a friend’s house at the weekend.
The PA news agency looks at what the incident could mean for Grealish.
What punishment does he face?
— Jack Grealish (@JackGrealish)March 28, 2020
It remains to be seen if there are going to be any charges but Villa have confirmed they will discipline him for such poor behaviour, just hours after he urged people to stay at home because of coronavirus via a Twitter video on Saturday.
However, any financial penalty will be nothing compared to the public backlash he faces after flouting the lockdown rules and testing the emergency services at a time when they are already stretched to the limit.
Will he remain Villa’s captain?
It is hard to see how Grealish can stay as Villa’s skipper, even if he has excelled on the pitch this season and remains key to Villa’s hopes of beating the drop.
This is not a minor indiscretion and having failed to lead by example the midfielder should expect to be stripped of the armband.
How will this impact any potential move?
9 – Jack Grealish has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other English midfielder this season (5 goals, 4 assists). Cusp.pic.twitter.com/ZsMLUXOp2N
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe)December 21, 2019
Manchester United have been linked with a summer move regardless of whether Villa win their relegation battle or not.
Anything like this should be met with a dim view from any suitors and it would naturally cast doubt over whether the 24-year-old could handle the spotlight at a bigger club.
However, Grealish is not the first footballer to do something stupid – and he will not be the last. The severity of the incident is unlikely to derail any big-money move.
Will he remain in England contention?
Grealish was on the verge of an England call-up before the coronavirus outbreak ended any hopes of selection this month.
He has been in exceptional form for Villa but England boss Gareth Southgate is a big believer in using those who are responsible and can be relied upon.
When the Three Lions play again remains to be seen – and there will be no shortage of interest in whether Grealish’s name features in the next squad announced by Southgate.