Aston Villa boss Dean Smith misses friendly at Walsall as ‘he is isolating with his family’ – Asia Despatch

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Aston Villa boss Dean Smith misses friendly at Walsall as ‘he is isolating with his family’ with his No 2 Craig Shakespeare taking charge of first pre-season game

  • Aston Villa said Dean Smith was not present at Walsall as he is isolating
  • Assistant Craig Shakespeare took charge for their first pre-season friendly
  • At least 10 Villa players contracted the virus after a Covid outbreak in January

Dean Smith missed Aston Villa’s friendly at Walsall on Wednesday as he is isolating.

The club did not make clear the reason for Smith, 50, going into isolation, announcing only that his assistant Craig Shakespeare would take charge of the pre-season fixture.

The statement read: ‘Aston Villa can confirm that Head Coach Dean Smith will not be present at tonight’s friendly with Walsall as he is currently isolating with his family.’

Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith missed the team’s friendly with Walsall on Wednesday

Last season, Villa were hit by a Covid outbreak in January, with at least 10 first-team players thought to have contracted the virus.

They were forced to field a team of reserve and youth players in an FA Cup tie against Liverpool, while League games against Everton and Tottenham were postponed. 

Smith’s father, Ron Smith, died aged 79 in May last year just four weeks after contracting Covid-19.  

The lifelong Villa fan had been living in a care home after being diagnosed with dementia six years ago.

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