Aston Villa players' FPL teams could have inadvertently leaked Jack Grealish injury
Several of Grealish's teammates removed him from their FPL sides when it became clear he would miss the Leicester game
News of injury to Jack Grealish might have come as a surprise to many ahead of Aston Villa's defeat by Leicester City on Sunday. Having not missed a single league game for his club in well over a year, his absence from the squad was only confirmed in the hours before kick-off.
To some eagle-eyed Fantasy Premier League players, however, Grealish's omission didn't come as too much of a shock...
After Grealish had picked up an injury in training, tweets highlighting how some of the 25-year-old's teammates - Matt Targett, Neil Taylor and Conor Hourihane - had all transferred him out of their FPL sides had started to appear. It was noticed that the club's performance analyst, Scott Afey-Linforth, and physio, Rob Marshall, took the same action with their own FPL teams.
— FPL Insider (@insider_fpl) February 19, 2021
According to David Ornstein in the Athletic, this reflects growing concerns amongst Premier League clubs that players and staff may be inadvertently leaking team selection clues via their FPL teams.
Provided FPL players know where to look, all information is publicly available and top flight sides are now said to be recognising it as a genuine issue.
"I've been made aware that on social media there were some rumours that he [Grealish] wasn't going to play," Villa boss Dean Smith said after the game.
"If it's coming out of our training ground, then I find out where it's coming from and reprimand where it's coming from."
As the article by the Athletic also points out, Leeds' Liam Cooper also offered more selection hints with his own FPL selection ahead of his club's game against Wolves on Friday night. He opted to remove Gjanni Alioski, a starter in each of the last 17 Leeds games prior to the trip to Molineux. Sure enough, the Macedonian was named as a sub for the game.
The report says that there are no suggestions that teams will prevent their players and staff from playing FPL as a result of the issue, but that some could ask them not to select players from their own clubs to avoid potentially giving away team selection information to opponents.