Aston Villa have banned their players from participating in fantasy football competitions amid concerns about Jack Grealish and the leaking of his injury news.
It was not long after the latest deadline had passed on Friday evening that an attentive onlooker noticed something of interest in the team selections of a few Premier League professionals.
A handful among the millions playing Fantasy Premier League every season, a Twitter account called FPL Insider knows where to be looking for tell-tale signs of player news.
Two days before Aston Villa's clash with Leicester City on Sunday afternoon, it appeared as if a few people presumably in the know were inadvertently telling us something about Jack Grealish.
Citing players Matt Targett, Conor Hourihane (on loan at Swansea) and Neil Taylor, as well as a performance analyst and physio, FPL Insider noticed a trend in their selections.
— FPL Insider (@insider_fpl) February 19, 2021
Although Aston Villa are aware that Fantasy Premier League team selections are not the only way news of an injury to Jack Grealish could have leaked out, they are concerned enough to instill new rules.
A club insider told The Times: "A number of the younger players have Fantasy Premier League sides and have been told in no uncertain terms not to continue to play them due to the potential insider knowledge element."
The timeline for Grealish's rare absence from Villa's matchday squad commenced when he missed training on Wednesday - a fact upwards of 48 people were likely to have been aware of.
Although the England international trained on Friday, it is believed to have been clear that he would be absent from Sunday's game against Leicester City.
Sitting in 8th after what has been a marvelous season for the club, manager Dean Smith said he would be investigating the leaks while his opposite number Brendan Rodgers admitted that he had heard news of the doubts surround Grealish's availability in the build-up.